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China’s big parade and the ECB — 5 things to know about today

China Holds Military Parade To Commemorate End Of World War II In AsiaChina Holds Military Parade To Commemorate End Of World War II In Asia
China's military buildup is changing the U.S.-dominated balance of power in the Far East.Photograph by Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are higher in the absence of headwinds from China’s closed markets and in the hope that the ECB will offer some comforting prospects of more monetary stimulus that could help sustain the global economy even as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates. Crude oil futures are also higher at $46.33 a barrel, while the dollar is mainly flat.

Today’s must-read stories are from Fortune‘s Kristen Bellstrom and Dan Primack, who each weighed in on recent reactions to the news of Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer’s pregnancy. Even with the ongoing push for companies to adopt improved parental leave policies, Primack points out that no one should judge CEOs like Mayer and Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg for working while they or their significant others are expecting, while Bellstrom agrees but also notes that Mayer should make it clear that she understands that not all working parents are able to take only limited leave to accommodate the birth of a child.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. China stages huge military parade – and sends its navy to patrol the Alaskan coast

China held a gigantic military parade to mark the end of its war with Japan in 1945, in a show of strength that was also a statement of intent on challenging U.S. military supremacy in the Far East and Pacific. Beijing unveiled a new ballistic missile capable of destroying aircraft carriers and also sent its warships to patrol the Bering Sea off Alaska, underlining its fast-growing capacity to project force beyond its borders. Read more about Xi Jinping’s huge pageant here.

 

2. European Central Bank meeting

At today’s ECB policy-setting meeting, the central bank is expected to keep interest rates steady as it cuts its inflation forecast amid slumping commodity prices, particularly crude oil, along with volatile global markets that have been spooked by China’s struggling economy. The markets will be watching the meeting closely for ECB President Mario Draghi’s thoughts on prospects for economic growth in China as well as hints on the possibility of further quantitative easing to stimulate the eurozone economy.

3. U.S. economic data

The Commerce Department will release data that is expected to show the international trade deficit fell to $42.4 billion in July from $43.8 billion the previous month. July exports increased for the first time in three months, which could be a positive signal for further improved economic growth in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department is expected to report that the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week increased by 4,000, to 275,000 claims, from the previous week.

4. Campbell’s earnings easy to swallow?

Campbell Soup (CPB) reports its fourth-quarter results this morning. The maker of foods ranging from iconic soups to Pepperidge Farm baked goods reduced its long-term sales growth forecast earlier this summer due to consumers’ shift away from packaged, processed foods. Investors will be interested to hear about the results of Campbell’s aggressive cost-cutting measures, which have included layoffs.

5. Medtronic results

The medical device maker reports first-quarter earnings today and the results are expected to meet Wall Street’s forecasts following strong sales of the company’s cardiac, vascular, and minimally invasive products. Medtronic (MDT) moved its headquarters out of the U.S. and into Ireland last year as part of its $50 billion acquisition of Irish firm Covidien and today’s results will offer investors another look at how that deal has held up, including the amount of Medtronic’s cost savings and the effect of currency headwinds.

— Reuters contributed to this report.