Before the bell: What you need to know before the US market open

Billy Bambrough
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South Koreans Hold Rallies Against Japan  Regarding Territorial Dispute
South Korea's central bank is blaming "exports continuing their trend of decline" for the interest rate cut (Source: Getty)

South Korea has unexpectedly cut its interest rates, while New Zealand's central bank remains on hold. In China consumer prices rose less than expected, muting economist hopes that the economy is stabilising earlier in the week.

Here's what you need to know before the US markets open at 2:30pm London time.

US futures are pointing downwards. The S&P is down by 0.38 per cent, the Nasdaq is easing back from the 5,000 mark, it's off by 0.28 per cent. The Dow is down by 0.32 per cent. The US 10-year yield is at its lowest since February, down two basis points at 1.68 per cent.

European markets have all gotten off to a bad start, while across Asian boards closed down. Chinese and Hong Kong markets were however closed due to a national holiday.

Interesting times...

The Bank of Korea's benchmark interest rate is now at a record low of 1.25 per cent, following a 25 basis points cut due to "exports continuing their trend of decline."

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Meanwhile the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has held interest rates at 2.25 per cent, as expected.

Coming in to land...

China's consumer price index rose two per cent year-over-year in May, the lowest since January and falling short of the 2.3 per cent gain that had been forecast by economists.

Food inflation hit 5.9 per cent, while producer prices fell 2.8 per cent, beating the 3.3 per cent drop that was anticipated.

Stocks to watch

Vodafone Group's $2.4bn merger between its New Zealand unit and the country's biggest pay-TV provider, Sky Network has pushed its share price up 1.5 per cent pre-market.

Restoration Hardware, the luxury-furnishings retailer, has fallen well short of expectations, losing $0.05 per share, compared to the $0.05 gain that was expected. It also slashed its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast to a range of $1.60 to $1.80, falling far short of the $2.66 that Wall Street had pencilled in.

Read more: Pass the tinfoil, Bilderberg meets today

Pharmaceutical company Orexigen Therapeutics' are surging 4.7 per cent pre-market after it had won a patent ruling against rival Actavis for an obesity treatment.

Companies reporting today

Christopher and Banks Corporation as well as JM Smucker will post their latest numbers ahead of the open. At the end of the session we'll hear from H&R Block and Mattress Firm.

In economic news

The US department of labor has just released its initial claims report showing jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week by 4,000 to 264,000.

Wholesale inventories are out at 3pm London time then at 3:30pm the latest natural gas inventories will be announced.

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