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Dow Futures Flat Ahead Of Fed Meeting

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open up by two points this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open unchanged, ahead of the start of this month’s two-day Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index is expected to open in the greed zone at 65 today, after closing at 62 yesterday.

European markets made steady gains this morning. Among the top performers was oil major BP, which was up 5.1% at 7am ET, after the firm published third-quarter results showing adjusted profits of $3.7bn for the third quarter, ahead of analysts’ consensus estimates of $3.4bn. BP also announced a 5.6% increase to its third-quarter dividend, which will rise to 9.5 cents per share. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was up 0.40%, the DAX was up 0.17%, and the CAC 40 was up 0.33%.

Today’s US economic reports begin at 8.30am ET, with September’s producer price index and retail sales reports. The producer price index is expected to have risen by 0.3% in September, after rising by 0.3% in August, while retail sales are expected to have risen by 0.1%, following a flat performance in August. At 9am, August’s Case-Shiller home price index is expected to show a 12.5% year-on-year increase, up from 12.4% in July. Finally, at 10am, October’s consumer confidence index is expected to read 75.0, down from 79.7 in September, while August’s business inventories report is expected to show a 0.4% increase, in-line with the gain seen in July.

Apple stock may be heavily traded this morning, after the firm reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings after the close last night. Apple reported iPhone sales of 33.8m during the fourth quarter, ahead of analysts’ forecasts of 32.9m, while sales of iPads, Macs and iPods were also ahead of expectations. The firm’s fourth-quarter earnings of $8.26 per share were also ahead of expectations. Apple stock was up 0.4% in pre-market trading this morning, after closing at $529.88 yesterday.

Also on the radar this morning will be Aetna, Air Products, Pfizer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Johnson Controls, all of which are amongst those due to report quarterly earnings before this morning’s opening bell, as are Valero Energy Corp, Occidental Petroleum Corp, Cummins, Paccar and Edison International

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 owns shares in BP but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article.  The Motley Fool owns shares in Apple.