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Dow Futures Flat As Investors Shrug Off Debt Ceiling Doubts

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open unchanged this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may also open flat. The Obama administration has reportedly agreed to accept a temporary increase in the US debt ceiling in order to avoid a default, but negotiations remain deadlocked, and substantial progress is still required to reach an agreement. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index remains in the fear zone, and is expected to open at 29 this morning, after closing at 38 yesterday.

European markets edged lower this morning. Overnight news that the September HSBC China Composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell from 51.8 to 51.2 weakened natural resource stocks, despite the data providing confirmation that China’s economy is continuing to expand. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.73%, the CAC 40 was down 0.32%, and the DAX was down 0.09%.

Today’s US economic reports begin with the NFIB small business index at 7.30am. August’s trade deficit was due at 8.30am and the job opening and labour turnover report for August was due at 10am, but these federal reports are likely to be delayed, due to the ongoing government shutdown.

On the corporate front, Wolverine Worldwide announced record results for its fiscal third-quarter earlier this morning. The footwear manufacturer’s sales rose by 9% to $716.7m, while gross margin increased by 0.7% to 39.9%, leaving adjusted earnings up at $1.16 per share, a 61.1% increase compared to the same period last year. Wolverine also announced that it was raising its full-year sales guidance to between $2.71bn and $2.73bn, compared to prior year pro forma revenue of $2.55bn. After the close tonight, traditional earnings season bellwether Alcoa will report its latest quarterly earnings. Analysts are forecasting third-quarter earnings of $0.06 per share, according to Thomson Reuters, due to lower aluminium prices. Fast-food operator Yum! Brands is also scheduled to report after tonight’s close, with analysts’ consensus forecasts suggesting that the firm will report third-quarter earnings of $0.93 per share.

Other stocks that may be actively traded today include Tenet Healthcare, which was up by 1.8% to $47 in pre-market trading, after Deutsche Bank increased its target price for the firm to $65.00.

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."

If you, like Buffett, are convinced about the long-term power of the Dow, you should read "5 Stocks To Retire On". Your long-term wealth could be transformed, even in this uncertain economy. Simply click here now to download this free, no-obligation report.

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