This morning stocks look set to open lower on poor trade numbers out of China. Chinese exports grew only 1%, well of economists estimates of 5% growth and down from 11.9% in June. Import growth also slowed, being reported at 4.7% versus 6.3% last month. Europe is China’s largest trading partner, and slowing export growth demonstrates the effect weak demand in Europe is having on the global economy. The weakness of these numbers makes easing from the People’s Bank of China, whether through an interest rate cut or reduced reserve requirement ratio, more likely going forward.

Today will mark the first day of trading of Manchester United stock ($MANU) on the New York Stock Exchange, pricing at $14.00. The club is selling about 10% of the company in order to raise capital to pay off large debts incurred in the club’s 2005 leveraged buyout. Sam Hamadeh, CEO of PrivCo, which researches privately held companies, said “It’s really trading on the level of fan interest as opposed to any sort of financial interest. A winning team does not make a winning investment” (USA Today). Unlike many IPOs this stock is expected to have slow growth, and has lots of debt and exposure to Europe.

Today we expect the market to remain choppy on light US economic news. We could see some traders taking profits after five days of gains on the weak news out of Europe. Next week could be a bit more volatile with the PPI, CPI, retail sales, industrial production, and housing starts scheduled to be reported.