10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

Yellen suggests the Fed will raise rates this year. Thursday evening, Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered a speech titled “Inflation Dynamics and Monetary Policy.” During her long-winded speech on the history of US inflation Yellen noted, “Most FOMC Federal Open Market Committee] participants, including myself, currently anticipate that achieving these conditions will likely entail an initial increase in the federal funds rate later this year, followed by a gradual pace of tightening thereafter.” The Fed has two more meetings this year, coming on October 28 and December 16. Currently, the market is suggesting a 20%% probability of an October hike and a 47.2% probability of a December liftoff.

Yellen had a health scare during last night’s speech, but is OK. Fed Chair Janet Yellen appeared to be experiencing discomfort during Thursday night’s speech before ending it early. “[I]f the economy surprises us, our judgments about appropriate monetary policy will change.” she said. “Let me stop there. Thank you.” As she exited the stage she was presented with a gift before receiving medical attention. A Fed representative said, “Chair Yellen felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights. As a precaution, she was seen by EMT staff on site at UMass Amherst. She felt fine afterward and has continued with her schedule Thursday evening.”

Japan’s core CPI turned negative. Data released by the Japanese government showed August core CPI printed -0.1% year-over-year, making for the first negative print since April 2013. The drop to -0.2% for Tokyo core CPI suggests the pace of deflation may accelerate. The Japanese yen is weaker by 0.6% at 120.84 per dollar.

Nike crushed estimates. The athletic shoe giant earned an adjusted $US1.34 per share, easily topping the $US1.19 that analysts were anticipating. Revenue climbed 5.4% YoY to $US8.4 billion, which was better than the $US8.2 billion that was expected. Sales were particularly strong in China, up 30% compared to last year. Here in North America, sales rose 8% (9% excluding currency fluctuations). Future orders improved 9% versus a year ago.

Bed Bath & Beyond missed on revenue. The retailer announced earnings of $US1.21 per share, matching the Wall Street estimate. Revenue edged up 1.7% versus last year to $US3.00 billion, which was a bit shy of the $US3.03 billion that was anticipated. Bed Bath & Beyond said comparable sales rose 0.7%, translating to a 1.1% increase on a constant currency basis. The company announced a new $US2.5 billion share repurchase program, which will begin after the existing program is completed.

Volkswagen is about to name a new CEO. Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller will likely be named Volkswagen CEO, according to Bloomberg. Mueller has the support of the Porsche family, who controls Volkswagen, after spending 40 years at the company. Volkswagen is in need of a new CEO after Martin Winterkorn resigned after it was found the company was cheating on emissions testing.

Japan Tobacco wants to buy assets from Reynolds. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, Japan Tobacco is in talks to buy about $US5 billion worth of Reynolds’ US assets. The assets, which include some of the Natural American Spirit brand, would help Japan Tobacco expand outside of its home market where the population is ageing and the smoking rate is stagnating, according to Bloomberg. The talks could still fall apart without a deal being reached.

Global stock markets are mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei (+1.8%) led the way higher in Asia and France’s CAC (+3.4%) paces the gains in Europe. S&P 500 futures are higher by 24 basis points at 1942.75.

US economic data flows. GDP – Third Estimate will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET and the final reading of University of Michigan Sentiment is due out at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.16%.

Earnings reports are light. Blackberry and Finish Line will release their quarterly results ahead of the opening bell.

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