10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Washington dcREUTERS/Jason ReedWith no guided tours due to the U.S. Government shut down, a U.S. Capitol police officer stands in front of paintings in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.

  • Asian markets were mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.30%, Korea’s Kospi was up 0.42% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.89%. European markets were lower with London’s FTSE off most at -0.74%. U.S. futures were flat.
  • The government has entered Day 8 of the shutdown. The National Review’s Robert Costa reports there basically remains zero progress in ending the standoff, and GOP members are now just waiting for President Obama to “crack.” “There’s no way the president holds firm…Once that crack opens, I don’t know how the debt limit will be addressed, but it won’t be by Republican capitulation.”

  • Sen. Harry Reid says he plans to introduce a measure to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans are expected to filibuster the measure, but a debate will in effect test Republican resolve over whether they want to risk rattling markets over their positions, the AP reports.
  • And there’s no economic data coming out of the public agencies today. We were supposed to get the August international trade data as well as job openings and labour turnover. However, these numbers will be delayed until further notice.
  • French telecoms equipment manufacturing giant Alcatel-Lucent said it is cutting 10,000 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, and plans to reach 15,000 by 2015. The company has consistently suffered losses since its creation in a 2006 merger. Elsewhere in Europe, German imports and orders both fell.
  • Gallup’s economic confidence index — which has not seen positive territory since at least January 2008 — has now plunged to -35 from -17 a month ago, as citizens worry about fallout from the government impasse.
  • Aluminium giant Alcoa and KFC parent Yum! Brands release earnings today after the market closes. The former is bellwether of global industrial activity, and the latter is a bellwether of global consumer trends.
  • “Cracks” are already starting to show in markets, and BTIG’s Dan Greenhaus wrote in a note to clients last night. “The (modest) losses keep mounting. The S&P is now down in 10 of its last thirteen sessions (-2.9%) while the Russell 2000 is off its high from last Tuesday by just 2.0%. Discretionary badly underperformed today as the six of the worst seven names in the entire S&P (URBN, MAT, ANF, TRIP, GCI and BBY) come from this corner of the market. Defensives had a strong showing as telecom finished in the green and utilities and staples held in there thanks to FE/ED and KRFT/tobacco names respectively.”
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Hilsenrath has a lengthy account of how the Fed ended up sending mixed messages to the market about the future of its bond buying program. “In the three months following the June meeting, the economic reports confounded officials. The unemployment rate fell faster than expected, to 7.4% in July and 7.3% in August. But employment growth, economic growth and inflation were slower than expected. The Fed faced a dilemma: Should it focus on the drop in unemployment, or other evidence the economy remained weak and might still need support?”
  • Francois Englert, 80, and Peter Higgs, 84, won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for the theory of how particles acquire mass. The two separately proposed this theory — what became known as the Higgs mechanism — in 1964.

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