10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

China’s economic growth slows to levels last seen in 2009. China’s GDP slowed to 6.9% (7.0% previous), slightly outpacing the 6.8% growth that economists were expecting. According to the National Bureau of statistics, “The Central Party Committee and the State Council took full consideration of domestic and global situations, adopted scientific measures to stabilise economic growth, promote reforms, enhance restructuring, benefit people and control risks, implemented effective range-based, targeted and discretionary macro regulation, further deepened the reform and opening up, encouraged mass entrepreneurship and innovation and increased supply of public goods and services.” It continued, “As a result, the overall performance of national economy was stable and moving in a positive direction.” Industrial production data was also released, slowing to up 5.7% (6.1% previous), below the 6.0% growth that was expected. China’s yuan weakened 0.1% to 6.3604 per dollar.

A major state-owned Chinese steel company is near default. State-owned steelmaker Sinosteel is unlikely to pay the principal and interest on its bonds set to mature on Tuesday. According to a letter to shareholders acquired by the Financial Times, Sinosteel, “lacked the funds to repay principal and interest on 2 billion yuan ($US315m) in bonds sold in 2010.” Recently, state-run media company Xinhua announced Beijing is looking to reform its state-owned enterprises.

Iran wants OPEC to cut production. Bloomberg reports, Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced, “OPEC should decide to manage the market by reducing the level of production.” Zanganeh wants OPEC to cut production to bring oil prices back to between $US70 and $US80 per barrel. OPEC has produced more than its official target of 30 million barrels per day for 16 straight months, according to Bloomberg. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is lower by 1.1% at $US46.73 per barrel.

Canada is going to the polls. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have held a majority since 2011, but that could be coming to end as Canadians go to the polls on Monday. Polls show Harper, who has been Canada’s prime minister since 2006, is expected to narrowly lose to Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party. The Liberals likely don’t have enough votes to secure an outright majority. The Canadian dollar is little changed at 1.2918 per dollar.

There was a shake up at Deutsche Bank. Recently named Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan is shaking things up at the investment bank. Cryan cleaned house by removing executives close to former CEO Anshu Jain. Among those relieved of their duties were securities co-chief Colin Fan and asset management head Michele Faissola. Additionally, Cryan has decided to merge Deutsche Bank’s corporate finance and global transactions units on the way to reducing the number of management committees from 16 to 10. The stock is up 3.4% in German trade.

Walmart is suspected of bribery in India. The big-box retailer allegedly made thousands of small denominated payments, totaling millions of dollars, to low-level local officials in India, according to the Wall Street Journal. Unnamed sources told the WSJ, “The vast majority of the suspicious payments were less than $US200, and some were as low as $US5.” Additionally, an investigation into Walmart’s bribery allegations in Mexico has found the company committed much more minor offenses than initially charged. Charges are expected to be much more minor than initially expected, the WSJ says.

Dating app and website maker Match announced plans for an IPO. IAC-owned Match Group, whose portfolio includes Tinder, PlentyOfFish, Match, HowAboutWe, and OkCupid, has announced plans for an initial public offering. The $US100 million offering will make Match a “controlled company” with more than 50% of its shares owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp. The stock will trade under the ticker “MTCH.”

Stock markets around the world are mixed. Germany’s DAX (+0.9%) leads the way higher in Europe after Japan’s Nikkei (-0.9%) lagged in Asia. S&P 500 futures are down 1.50 points at 2024.00.

US economic data is light. The NAHB Housing Market Index is due out at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up basis point at 2.04%.

Earnings reporting is turned up a notch. Halliburton, Hasbro, Morgan Stanley and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are among the names set to report ahead of the opening bell. IBM highlights the list of names scheduled to release their quarterly results after markets close.

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