10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

The Fed gets more hawkish. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee raised its key interest rate 25 basis points on Thursday to a range between 1.75% and 2% and said it expected two more rate hikes this year for a total of four. It had previously expected just three rate hikes in 2018.

The ECB is on the brink of ending its QE program.The European Central Bank could announce plans to stop its €2.55 trillion ($US3 trillion) bond-buying scheme known as quantitative easing, ending years of postcrisis stimulus, Reuters says. A decision will cross the wires at 7:45 a.m. ET.

Trump is getting ready to make a decision on slapping $US50 billion worth of tariffs on China. President Donald Trump is set to meet with his top trade advisers Thursday to decide whether to place tariffs on $US50 billion worth of Chinese goods that fall into 1,300 product categories, Reuters says.

China’s economic data misses across the board.Retail sales grew by 8.5% year-over-year in April, making for the weakest reading since June 2003, according to National Bureau of Statistics data released Thursday. Fixed asset investment, industrial output, and mining output also fell short of expectations.

Here’s the real reason hedge funds give you ideas, according to Harvard. Hedge funds love to pitch stocks to investors at conferences and then exit those positions right after, according to a paper published by Patrick Luo, a Harvard Business School Ph.D. candidate who analysed 341 stocks pitches by 29 hedge funds over five years.

A bidding war has broken out for 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast has now officially made a $US65 billion offer for 21st Century Fox’s assets excluding the Fox News and Fox Business channels. That’s 24% higher than the bid Disney made for the company’s production assets and movie franchises.

GM becomes first major auto company to have a female CEO and a female CFO. The automaker named Dhivya Suryadevara as chief financial officer on Wednesday.

Elon Musk loads up on more Tesla stock. Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought an additional $US25 million worth of Tesla stock, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Wednesday. He now owns more than 33 million shares, or nearly 20% of the company, according to Bloomberg data.

Stock markets around the world are lower. Japan’s Nikkei (-0.99%) led the losses in Asia, and Britain’s FTSE (-0.64%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.1% near 2,773.

US economic data picks up. Retail sales, import and export prices, and initial claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 2 basis points at 2.95%.

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