10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

The Reserve Bank of India cut rates more than expected. India’s central bank surprised markets by cutting its repo rate 50 basis points to 6.75% (7.00% expected). The central bank “front-loaded” its policy action to cushion the Indian economy from any China-related slowdown. According to the RBI, “A tentative economic recovery is underway, but is still far from robust.” The central bank also cut its reverse repo rate 50 basis points to 5.75%. The Indian rupee is stronger by 0.2% at 65.9438 per dollar.

Euro zone confidence unexpectedly gained. Euro zone economic confidence climbed to its best level since June 2011, according to the Financial Times. The September reading rose to 105.6, up from 104.1 in August. The euro is little changed at 1.1235.

UK mortgage lending posted its biggest increase in years. Bank of England data showed 71,030 mortgages were approved in August, up from 69,010 in July. Reuters reports, net mortgage lending climbed at an annualized growth rate of 2.9% to £3.449 billion, making for the fastest increase since 2008. The British pound is up 0.1% at 1.5782.

Yahoo is moving forward with its Alibaba spinoff. The Wall Street Journal says Yahoo plans to go ahead with its tax-free spinoff of more than $US20 billion worth of Alibaba shares despite not yet receving approval from the Internal Revenue Service. The company’s confidence to move forward suggests it believes it will eventually receive clearance from the IRS; however, it puts shareholders on the hook for a large tax bill if the IRS eventually objects, according to the WSJ. The spinoff is expected to come during the fourth quarter.

Glencore is rebounding. The mining giant trades higher by about 5% as shares rebound following yesterday’s plunge. However, the stock has given back a good amount of its early gains as shares were at one point higher by more than 10%. On Monday, Glencore closed down close to 30% after analysts at Investec warned the stock might be worthless. CEO Ivan Glasenberg lost more than a quarter of his wealth during Monday’s slide as $US500 million of his $US1.9 billion net worth evaporated.

Goldman Sachs lowered its S&P target. Goldman Sachs’ US equity strategist David Kostin lowered his S&P 500 price target to 2,000, down from his previous target of 2,100. Kostin wrote, “The impetus for these reductions is that our models now incorporate a slower pace of economic activity in the US and China and a lower oil price than we had been previously assuming.” For 2016, Kostin sees S&P 500 earnings per share of $US120 and a year-end target of 2,100.

Carl Icahn says the Fed is blowing it. Activist investor Carl Icahn released a new video titled “Danger Ahead,” which warns trouble is coming to the financial markets. Icahn believes the Fed got the US economy into this mess and that its zero-interest rate policy has created an “earnings mirage.” Icahn says companies are simply buying other companies to create the perception of growing earnings and that a lot of companies are buying back stock that shouldn’t be. “A buyback is a short-term fix. But it weakens the balance sheet,” Icahn said.

Stock markets around trade mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (-4.1%) was hit hard in overnight trade. In Europe, Germany’s DAX (+0.4%) leads markets higher. S&P 500 futures are up 9.75 points at 1881.75.

US economic data is light. The Case-Schiller 20-city Index is due out at 9 a.m. ET and consumer confidence will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.10%.

Earnings reports are slow. Costco reports after the closing bell.

An 11th thing. Publisher Axel Springer acquired Business Insider. “We have tremendous respect for Axel Springer’s commitment to independent journalism and its global vision for the future,” Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget said. “It is a pleasure and privilege to join forces with such a smart, forward-thinking team. We look forward to working together to build a major global news organisation for the digital century.”

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