10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

China’s trade surplus hit a record high. China’s trade surplus widened to a record $US61.64 billion in October, but that was shy of the $US64.75 billion surplus that was expected. Exports slumped 6.9% versus last year and imports tumbled 18.8%. Both numbers missed estimates. China’s yuan ended weaker by 0.1% at 6.3625 per dollar.

Saudi Arabia won’t cut production. Khalid A. Al-Falih the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company, Saudi Aramco, told the Financial Times, it has no plans to cut production. “The only thing to do now is to let the market do its job,” he said. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is stronger by 0.9% at $US44.66 per dollar.

Catalonia has approved a plan for succession from Spain. Catalonia’s parliament voted 72 to 63 to develop a road map towards independence from Spain by 2017. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has previously declared he would take legal action against Catalan parliament if succession was approved, the Associated Press noted. Spain’s 10-year yield is up 7 basis points at 1.98%.

Portugal’s left is nearing an alliance. Portugal’s center-right government’s two and a half-week reign appears to be coming to an end at the expense of the far left. Tuesday, the left is expected to table a rejection motion to the government, and if passed the government must resign. Portugal’s 10-year yield is up 20 basis points at 2.85%, and at its highest level in four months.

Apache has been approached about a takeover. Oil and gas giant Apache has received an unsolicited $US18 billion takeover from an unidentified company, Bloomberg reports. The reported offer was made a few weeks ago, but it’s unclear whether or not talks will continue, an unidentified source told Bloomberg. Shares of Apache are up more than 2% in German trade.

Weyerhaeuser is buying a rival. Timber giant Weyerhaeuser has agreed to buy rival Plum Creek for about $US8.4 billion in stock stock. The deal will pay Timber Creek shareholders 1.60 Weyerhaeuser shares per Plum Creek share, about a 13.8% premium from Friday’s closing price, according to a Reuters report. A combination would create a $US23 billion lumber behemoth.

GE is selling more assets. The Wall Street Journal reports, General Electric has agreed to sell its Australian commercial lending business to Sankaty Advisors, the global credit affiliate of Bain Capital, for $US1.34 billion, including debt.”We continue to make strong progress in our efforts to reduce the size of GE Capital. To date, we have signed agreements to sell approximately US$128 billion of GE Capital, more than 60 per cent of our overall plan,” said Keith Sherin, GE Capital’s chairman and chief executive. Earlier this year, the company pledged to sell or spin-off $US500 billion worth of global financial assets.

Berkshire Hathaway topped estimates. The conglomerate headed by Warren Buffett announced earnings of $US2,769 per share, topping the $US2,271 that was expected by the Bloomberg consensus. In addition, Berkshire announced its net income doubled to a record $US9.43 billion thanks to its Kraft Heinz holding, which is bought in 2013 for $US28 billion.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (+2%) led the way in Asia and France’s CAC (-0.4%) paces the decline in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 7.25 points at 2086.50. Additionally, the US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.35%, a three and a half-month high.

Earnings reporting remains heavy. Dean Foods, Dish Network and Hertz Global are among the names reporting before the opening bell. Caesar’s Entertainment and Jazz Pharmaceuticals highlight the names releasing their quarterly results after markets close.

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