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Dow Futures Flat As Syria Fears Subside

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by one point this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open unchanged. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index has plunged into ‘extreme fear’, and is set to open at 18 today, down from yesterday’s close of 30.

European markets continued to fall this morning, as concerns over potential military intervention in Syria and the risk of wider conflict in the Middle East continued to grow. However, the falls seen in most markets were relatively modest, and there was no evidence of widespread panic selling. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.38%, the DAX was down 1.08%, and the CAC 40 was down 0.30%. Oil prices appeared to peak earlier this morning, but remain close to six-month highs, with Brent crude trading at $115 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate selling for $109 per barrel. Gold also rose further this morning, peaking at around $1,433 per ounce, before dropping back to $1,424.

In the US today, investors are likely to keep an eye on developments relating to Syria, as US economic reports are limited. The main item of interest will be July’s pending home sales report at 10am ET, which is expected to show that pending home sales fell by 1% in July, after falling by 0.4% in June. Aside from Syria, another factor that may unsettle markets over the next few weeks is the third US debt-ceiling crisis in three years, after Treasury Secretary Lew said on Monday that the debt ceiling would need to be raised by mid-October, to prevent the US government becoming unable to meet its obligations.

On the corporate front, the share price of television set-top box maker Tivo rose by 2% in after-hours trading last night, after the firm announced second-quarter earnings of $1.96 per share, up from a loss of $0.23 per share for the same period last year. Companies expected to report quarterly earnings before markets open today include Jack Daniels maker Brown-Forman and Express Inc, which is expected to report second-quarter earnings of $0.20 per share according to consensus estimates. Later today, Williams-Sonoma, Joy Global and Chico’s are also expected to report their latest quarterly results.

Finally, let’s not forget the Dow’s daily movements can add up to some serious long-term gains. Indeed, Warren Buffett recently wrote: “The Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and many recessions.

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> Roland does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.