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

Billy Bambrough
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Australia central bankers are betting lowing interests will help to drive up inflation. Well, if it didn't work last time, this time if definitely will, right? (Source: Getty)

Japan has launched a £34bn stimulus package, the Reserve Bank of Australia has chopped its its benchmark interest rate to a record low 1.5 per cent and Europe's banks are getting sold off.

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

The US pre-market is pointing down ahead of the open. The S&P is off by 0.25 per cent, the Nasdaq is 0.19 per cent lower, while the Dow is 0.17 per cent down.

European equity is swimming in a sea of red so far in the session, led lower by big banks as investors continue to digest the results of the European Union's stress tests at the end of last week.

Read more: UK construction output tumbles at fastest pace since 2009

The muted session follows a mixed bag in Asia as Chinese stocks rose, outperforming Japan.

Remaining with Japan, the country's leader Shinzo Abe has launched a new ¥4.6tn (£33.9bn) stimulus to boost a struggling Japanese economy.

Meanwhile, Australia is also easing back monetary policy. The country's central bank has cut rates to a record low of 1.5 per cent, as expected, in a desperate attempt to drive up inflation. There are calls for the UK to take a similar dovish approach.

Stocks to watch

European banks are facing fresh sell offs today, lead by German lender Commerzbank AG, which ditched almost eight per cent this morning before recovering some ground.

The big UK banks have all been dragged down, led by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Read more: Financial sector faces toughest competition in a decade

To really rub salt in the wound Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are set to be kicked out of the Eurostoxx 50 after their market cap has shrunk to record lows.

Italy's UniCredit is also under pressure after the rescue of smaller rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena focused attention on its bad loan problem.

Companies reporting today

It's a big day for US earnings. Ahead of the open we'll hear from health care company Aetna, CVS Health, big pharma firm Pfizer, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, Israli fizzy drinks maker SodaStream, and Hyatt Hotels.

Later tonight we'll get the latest numbers from wearable gadget maker Fitbit, DIY website Etsy, sports car manufacturer Ferrari, video games developer and publisher Electronic Arts, and firearm manufacturer Sturm Ruger.

Phew. Should keep everyone busy.

In economic news

Economic data is light but that's OK because there is so much else going on. The latest US auto sales will be released throughout the day.

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