10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

China says it did not offer President Donald Trump a deal to slash the trade gap by $US200 billion. Hours earlier, it dropped an antidumping investigation into US sorghum imports in a conciliatory gesture as top officials meet in Washington, Reuters says.

Japanese inflation is moving further away from the Bank of Japan’s 2% target. Core inflation, which excludes fresh food, rose by just 0.7% in the year to April, down from the 0.9% print in March, Japanese government data showed.

US companies are returning cash to shareholders at a record pace – and that is fuelling everyone’s biggest fear about tax reform. Data from S&P Dow Jones Indices suggests observers’ biggest fears are coming true, though some argue it may not be as big of a deal as previously thought.

A former trader accused of rigging the market says being a vice president at Barclays is like working at McDonald’s.“Vice president is not what everyone thinks it is,” Carlo Palombo, the ex-Barclays trader who is on trial amid accusations that he rigged benchmark interest rates, replied after a prosecutor questioned his comparison. “It is junior.”

PayPal just made its biggest acquisition. PayPal will buy the Swedish fintech startup iZettle, best known as the provider of devices and software that allow smartphones and tablets to read credit cards, for $US2.2 billion, Reuters reports.

Deutsche Bank’s cost-cutting is so savage that it has even stopped buying fruit for its staff. The bank circulated a memo earlier this month telling employees that free fruit would no longer be provided after the “cost catalyst steering committee” decided to remove the perceived unnecessary cost, according to the Financial Times’ City Insider gossip column.

Pluralsight sees a big pop in its trading debut. The company that teaches technical skills and markets its online, on-demand classes to enterprises popped 35% in its Thursday trading debut on the Nasdaq.

Nordstrom comp sales miss. The retailer beat on both the top and bottom lines, but comparable-store sales increased 0.7% at its full-priced stores, missing the 1% gain that analysts were expecting.

Stock markets around the world are mostly higher. China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.24%) paced the advance in Asia, and France’s CAC (+0.05%) clings to gains in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.18% near 2,725.

Earnings reports trickle out. Campbell Soup and Deere report ahead of the opening bell.

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