Bank stress tests; Trade war victim; Bank of England decision

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1. Stress tests: The US Federal Reserve will release its annual assessment of big banks on Thursday.

The stress tests, put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, are designed to make sure banks are healthy enough to withstand an economic downturn. Six foreign banks will be included this year for the first time.

The biggest US banks have had a good year. They're raking in profits, thanks in large part to tax cuts enacted last year. But their shares are struggling, and are mostly down so far in 2018.

2. Trade war victim: German automaker Daimler said its profits will fall this year, blaming the emerging trade war between the United States and China.

Daimler (DDAIF), the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement late Wednesday that "the decisive factor" for cutting its profit forecast was the expectation that China will raise tariffs on vehicles imported from the United States.

It's the first major global company to warn of a direct hit to its profits from the escalation in the trade conflict.

Daimler shares dropped 4% in Frankfurt. Shares in its German rivals Volkswagen (VLKAF) and BMW (BMWYY) declined 2% and 3%, respectively.

3. Bank of England rate decision: The Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates steady on Thursday.

Still, the central bank has a lot of bad news to chew over. Britain's economic growth slowed in the first quarter while recent industrial production and manufacturing data suggest second quarter could be only marginally better.

Just a few months ago, economists widely expected the central bank to keep hiking interest rates. But weak data make that plan much less certain.

Later in the day, central bank governor Mark Carney and UK Treasury chief Philip Hammond will deliver speeches at the annual Mansion House event in London.

4. Turkey tariffs: Turkey became the latest country to hit back at the United States for its tariffs on steel and aluminum.

It has imposed tariffs worth $267 million on US goods, targeting items such as coal, paper, walnuts, tobacco, rice, whiskey and cars.

5. Global market overview: US stock futures were struggling to find direction.

European markets were mostly lower, while stocks in Asia ended the session mixed.

US crude futures dropped 1% to trade at $65 per barrel ahead of a key OPEC meeting in Vienna on Friday.

The Dow shed 0.2% on Wednesday. The S&P 500 added 0.2% and the Nasdaq gained 0.7%.

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6. Companies and economics: Barnes & Noble (BKS), Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Kroger (KR) will release earnings before the open.

BP (BP) has abandoned its planned $1.3 billion takeover of the gas stations business of Australian retailer Woolworths. It said the decision to ditch the deal was made after "unsuccessfully trying to restructure the deal to overcome competition objections."

The US house price index will be released at 9:00 a.m. ET.

The Swiss National Bank left its monetary policy on hold. Mexico's central bank is widely expected to hike interest rates at its meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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7. Coming this week:
Thursday — Darden (DRI), Kroger (KR) earnings; bank stress test results
Friday — OPEC meeting