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

Billy Bambrough
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The Amazon Echo could be used to as a music streaming device, reports have suggested
The Amazon Echo could be used to as a music streaming device, reports have suggested (Source: Getty)

The sun is shining in London, the FTSE 100 is higher, and across the pond markets look set for a rise on the opening bell.

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

US futures are pointing higher ahead of the open. The S&P is up by 0.24 per cent, the Nasdaq is up by 0.28 per cent, and the Dow looks set to open 0.26 per cent higher. The US 10-year yield is higher by two basis points at 1.57 per cent.

European markets have had a positive first half to the session, while Asian markets finished mixed.

It's merger madness...

Hopes of a renewed drive in worldwide mergers and acquisitions next month have been sparked by five global deals – valued at nearly $65bn (£49.5bn) – clearing a series of major hurdles yesterday.

Meanwhile, tourists are hitting the UK's shops like never before as they cash in on a weak pound to snap up British goods at knock-down prices, new payment data has revealed.

Read more: Should Philip Hammond cut VAT to support the UK economy?

Card payment giant WorldPay said today spending from foreign cards at UK stores has jumped by 12.4 per cent since the referendum. The climb mirrors the 14 per cent slide in sterling since 23 June, showing the weak pound is directly driving up sales at British retailers.

Stocks to watch

Shares in US seed giant Monsanto look set to jump at the open based on a report that takeover talks with rival Bayer are nearing their end stages. Bloomberg reports talks are progressing on issues such as purchase price and a termination fee.

Monsanto rejected earlier Bayer bids on at least two occasions, but indicated it was open to a deal at a better price. Earlier this month reports surfaced Bayer could turn hostile if its latest offer comes to nothing.

Read more: Why slashed interest rates could provide another M&A boost after Brexit

Shares in Google parent Alphabet could come under scrutiny after Google chief executive Sundar Pichai sold $3.1m worth of shares yesterday.

Commodities stocks are likely to be under pressure for the second day in the a row as prices continue to slide.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil is today lower by 1.1 per cent at $46.87 a barrel. Brent crude was trading at $47.07 a short time ago as it narrows the gap with the US benchmark.

Amazon shares are set for a bump at the open after reports that it is working on a budget music subscription service to rival the likes of Spotify and Google Music. The online retailer is in the planning stages of a subscription music service that would run through its Echo hardware, Recode reports, citing sources.

Companies reporting today

Struggling retailer Best Buy and food company JM Smucker will release quarterly reports ahead of the opening bell with payments processor Intuit and armchair maker La-Z-Boy reporting after the close.

In economic news

The latest Markit manufacturing PMI for the US is out just after the open and new home sales will cross the wires 3pm London time.

Read more: More M&A experts think Brexit vote could spark foreign interest in UK firms

In Europe, German manufacturing slipped from 53.8 in July to 53.6 in August – nearing the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction – but that was ahead of the 53.5 that economists were expecting. In France, the service sector saw an improvement to 52.0 from 50.5 while the manufacturing sector remained in contraction with a 48.5 reading.

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