10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Frown MerkelREUTERS/Michaela RehleGermany’s export numbers don’t make for happy reading.

Good morning! These are the major stories making an impact on global markets so far today.

Italy Just Passed Major Labour Market Reforms. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won the most important parliamentary confidence vote of his eight-month-old government early on Thursday on a labour reform proposal.

German Exports Plunged. Germany’s outward trade slumped by 5.8% in August, the biggest fall since the height of the global financing January 2009.

India Is Braced For A Major Cyclone. India began stocking shelters with rations, deploying disaster response forces and planning mass evacuations as an increasingly powerful cyclone hurtled toward its southeast coast on Thursday.

Facebook Has No “Near Term” Plans To Monetise WhatsApp. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would not be trying to monetise its newest acquisition in the near future, but didn’t clarify further than that.

After Three Years, London’s House Prices Are Finally Slowing. A group of surveyors has recorded the first drop in prices in the city since 2011.

US Initial Jobless Numbers Are Coming. The numbers are out at 8:30 a.m. ET, and analysts are expecting a reading of 294,000.

The Ruble Is In Trouble. The Russian central bank was forced to intervene again in currency markets to defend the ruble, having spent about $US55 billion of its reserves defending the currency in 2014 so far.

Alcoa Earnings Beat Their Forecast. Rising aluminium prices are boosting Alcoa and its latest results sent stock prices up in after-hours trading.

ISIS Now Controls ‘More Than A Third’ Of Crucial Syrian Border Town. Islamic State group jihadists were in control Thursday of more than one-third of the Syrian border town of Kobani.

European Markets Are Up. Despite the terrible trade data, Germany’s DAX is up 0.82%, the UK’s FTSE 100 is up 0.24% and France’s CAC is up 0.02%. The Nikkei closed down 0.75%, while the Hang Seng closed up 1.17%.

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