10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Before markets open on Thursday, here’s what you need to know.

The Bank of America vote happens today. Brian Moynihan might not be chairman of Bank of America for much longer. Moynihan was given the role of Chairman last October, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and other major pension plans have been fighting ever since to have the roles of CEO and Chairman separated. Tuesday’s shareholder vote is expected to be a close call.

Volkswagen remains under pressure. Shares of Volkswagen are down more than 20% for a second straight session after US regulators discovered the company developed software that released false emissions data. Volkswagen issued a profit warning and announced it would set aside €6.5 billion ($US7.27 billion) to “cover the necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customers.”

Goldman’s COO says tech is ‘bubblish.’ Gary Cohn, the Chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs, thinks there is a big difference between today and the tech bubble of 2000-2001. “Today when you look at the companies we’re talking about that are bubble-ish, they’re real companies … we can’t envision our lives without them,” Cohn told attendees of The New New York.

Halliburton announced layoffs. Reuters reports the oil services provider has laid off staff in Williston, North Dakota. “Halliburton will continue to monitor the business environment and will adjust the size of our workforce to align with current business demands as needed,” the company told Reuters in a statement. The number of staff affected wasn’t announced.

Xi Jinping is coming to America. Chinese president Xi Jinping touches down in Seattle today to begin his seven-day US tour. The trip takes him from Washington state to Washington D.C. to New York City. Bloomberg says five topics on Xi’s agenda in Washington D.C. are: The US’ widening trade deficit with China, the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea, pollution in China, cybersecurity and human rights.

Turkey’s central bank kept policy on hold. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey held its benchmark interest rate at 7.50%, as expected. Turkey’s lira is weaker by 0.4% at 3.0194 per dollar and near all-time lows.

Alexis Tsipras was sworn in. On Monday, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras took the oath of office. He vowed to “uphold the constitution and laws” of the country. The AFP says Tsipras is expected to name a coalition government by Wednesday. Greece’s 2-year yield is higher by 57 basis points at 10.14%.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. France’s CAC (-3.1%) leads the decline in Europe and China’s Shanghai Composite (+0.9%) paced the gains in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei was shut for a second straight session and remains closed tomorrow. S&P 500 futures are lower by 28.75 points at 1934.25.

US economic data is light. FHFA Housing Price Index is due out at 9 a.m. ET. The US Treasury will auction $US26 billion 2-year notes at 1 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 3 basis points at 2.17%.

Earnings reports flow. AutoZone, CarMax, Carnival, ConAgra, Darden Restaurants and General Mills all report ahead of the opening bell.

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