Need to know: Thursday, May 15

What you need to know on Thursday morning, May 15.

- NZX50 up 14.02 points (0.27 per cent) to 5213.359

- NZ dollar at US86.68 cents, A92.44c, 88.19yen, 51.69p, €63.22c

- Brent crude oil at US$110.21 a barrel

- Spot gold at US$1305.60 an ounce

What's on today

- The Government releases its Budget showing the books are much healthier than Australia's, which had a A$50 billion (NZ$54.1b) deficit in its own Budget this week.

- Business New Zealand's performance of manufacturing index (PMI) will reveal whether the New Zealand manufacturing sector grew or shrank in April.

- The New Zealand Refining Company: AGM, 2pm, at the company's offices at Marsden Point.

- Briscoe Group: AGM, 10am, the offices of Simpson Grierson, Level 27 Lumley Centre, 88 Shortland Street, Auckland.

Stocks to watch

- Fletcher Building: With a new poll showing voters are keen on government help for first-home buyers, it will be interesting to see whether today's Budget offers anything. If so it would be good news for the building sector including construction giant Fletcher Building.

- Manufacturers: There aren't many manufacturers on the NZX 50 but the likes of Steel and Tube, Ebos and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare will all be on the radar for investors watching Business NZ's Performance of Manufacturing figures that will be overshadowed by the Budget but should provide some answers to claims by Opposition parties that New Zealand is in a manufacturing crisis.

Top international news

- Food prices rise: US producer prices recorded their largest increase in 18 months in April as food prices surged, in a potential sign inflation pressures may be creeping up.

The US Labor Department said yesterday that its producer price index rose 0.6 per cent, the biggest gain since September 2012. That built on a March increase that was nearly as big.

Economists, who had expected only a 0.2 per cent gain, saw the latest rise as an indication that price pressure might be building. Officials at the Federal Reserve have long worried that inflation was running too low.

- Glaxo boss arrested: Chinese police said yesterday that they had charged the former British boss of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline's China business and other colleagues with corruption, after a probe found the firm made billions of yuan from elaborate schemes to bribe doctors and hospitals.

Mark Reilly and two Chinese executives, Zhang Guowei and Zhao Hongyan, were also suspected of bribing officials in the industry and commerce departments of Beijing and Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Something else for your morning

- Could Shortland Street improve New Zealanders' poor financial literacy? Maybe not, but a researcher says recent discussion of KiwiSaver on the popular soap shows the savings scheme is entering the mainstream consciousness. With few KiwiSaver investors using financial advisers (so far), TV and social media may be needed to help fill the void.