10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Chinese inflation data was mixed. Consumer prices rose 2.0% year-over-year, making for the fastest pace in a year. The August print was above both the 1.6% recorded in July and the 1.8% that was economists were expecting. Meanwhile, producer prices plunged 5.9% compared to last year, making for the steepest drop since September 2009. The drop accelerated from the 5.4% decline in July, and was larger than the decline of 5.5% that was anticipated.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang spoke at the World Economic Forum. Li ruled out a hard landing for the Chinese economy, suggesting it’s undergoing a shift from one that’s manufacturing-based to one that’s service-based. According to the South China Morning Post, Li suggested, “Beijing would allow overseas monetary authorities to directly invest in the interbank foreign exchange market and it would set up a cross-border yuan settlement system by the end of the year.” China’s offshore yuan is stronger by 1.2% at 6.3915 per dollar.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut its benchmark interest rate. New Zealand’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate 25 basis points to 2.75%. The rate cut has the central bank’s official cash rate just quarter percentage point above the record low of 2.50%. According to the RBNZ, “A reduction in the [official cash rate] is warranted by the softening in the economy and the need to keep future average CPI inflation near the 2 per cent target midpoint. At this stage, some further easing in the OCR seems likely.” The New Zealand dollar is down 1.5% at .6298.

Brazil was cut to junk at S&P. The rating agency cut Brazil’s sovereign credit rating one notch to BB-, making it ‘junk’ status. S&P also left Brazil’s credit rating on ‘negative watch,’ suggesting more downgrades might be coming. According to S&P, “The political challenges Brazil faces have continued to mount, weighing on the government’s ability and willingness to submit a 2016 budget to Congress consistent with the significant policy correction signalled during the first part of President Dilma Rousseff’s second term.”

A Japanese lawmaker wants more easing. Kozo Yamamoto, a member of Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, told Bloomberg the Bank of Japan’s October 30 meeting would be a “good opportunity” to introduce more easing. In the interview, Yamamoto said it was an “absolute imperative” the central bank hits its 2% inflation target by the end of the first half of its 2016 fiscal year. The Japanese yen is weaker by 0.6% at 121.18 per dollar.

There was one dissent at the Bank of England. The Bank of England kept its key interest rate unchanged at 0.50% and held its asset purchase program at £375 billion. Like the previous meeting, Monetary Policy Committee members voted 8-to-1 in favour of keeping rates on hold. The vote to keep its asset purchase program unchanged was unanimous. The British pound is stronger by 0.5% at 1.5444.

Australia posted a strong jobs report. The Australian economy added 17,400 jobs in August, outpacing the addition of 5,000 jobs that was expected. Of the jobs that were added, 11,500 were full-time. The unemployment rate slipped to 6.2% after hitting a 13-year high of 6.3% in July. The Australian dollar is up 0.8% at .7072.

Stock markets around the world are mostly lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-2.6%) paced the decline in Asia and Spain’s IBEX (-1.0%) leads the way lower in Europe. S&P 500 futures are higher by 5.25 points at 1948.00.

US economic data is heavy. Initial and continuing claims and import/export prices cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET while wholesale inventories is set for a 10 a.m. et release. Natural gas inventories will be announced at 10:30 a.m. ET and crude oil inventories are due out at 11 a.m. ET. The US Treasury will reopen $US13 billion 30-year bonds at 1 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 2.21%.

Earnings season winds down. Lululemon Athletica reports ahead of the opening bell and Restoration Hardware releases its quarterly results after the close.

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