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China blues and a Wal-Mart investment update–5 things to know today

Wal-Mart Announces Its Increasing WagesWal-Mart Announces Its Increasing Wages
Wal-Mart is next up with its 3Q figures.Photograph by oe Raedle — Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are mixed this morning, held back by a second straight day of disappointing data out of China that point to a weak third-quarter GDP report next week. That’s also keeping crude oil futures below $46.50 a barrel, a day after the International Energy Agency’s warning that the world oil glut could last through 2016 after all.

Today’s must-read story is by Fortune’s Kristen Bellstrom on why Warren Buffett still doesn’t want to be an activist investor. Buffett made the comments in conversation with longtime Fortune journalist Carol Loomis at this year’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C. You can read the article and watch the full discussion here.

Here’s what else you need to know.

1. China’s deflation problems

China can’t break its deflationary spell. Producer prices fell 5.9% in the year to September, their fastest rate since the global financial crisis in 2009. At the consumer level too, prices disappointed, rising only 1.6% in September, down from 2.0% and a sharper drop than was expected. The data come only a day after a disappointing set of foreign trade figure. Analysts are now forecasting that growth in the third quarter of this year slowed to 6.8%, down from 7% in the second quarter and below the government’s target.

2. More bank earnings.

Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of America (BAC) are the next big banks to report third-quarter earnings, following JPMorgan Chase’s strong earnings report yesterday. JPMorgan (JPM) reported a 22% profit increase on tax benefits last quarter. Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, is expected to reveal a slight gain in profit, thanks to a large capital loan book it bought from General Electric. Bank of America, the No. 2 bank by assets, likely didn’t fare so well. The company is expected to see the effects of recent market volatility with trading revenues down at least 5%.

BlackRock (BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, also reports today before the market open.

3. Walmart investment update.

Walmart hosts its 22nd annual investors meeting today starting at 10 a.m. ET. The company will discuss its ongoing strategy and provide financial projections, including presentations from Walmart U.S. and global e-commerce. Investors will be looking out for targets for capital expenditures, intended new store openings, and earnings estimates for its fiscal year starting February 2016.

4. September’s shopping results.

The Census Bureau releases U.S. retail sales numbers for September at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists estimate that retail sales increased 0.2% last month, matching August’s gain. Cheaper gas prices likely pulled down numbers at service stations around the nation, but high demand for new cars helped boost overall spending numbers.

5. Delta isn’t flying so high.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) reports its third-quarter results today after weak global demand over the past several months has hurt its bottom line. The company has hinted that its recently reduced its capacity abroad to match the declining demand, helping to stem a decline in unit revenue, a measure of how much the airline takes in for each passenger flown a mile. Analysts will be watching for an update on annual earnings to see if these efforts will help turn unit revenue positive for the full year.