LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open up by 0.1% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open 1.5 points higher. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index remains in ‘extreme fear’ territory, and is set to open at 22 today, up from yesterday’s close of 18.
Stock markets have short memories, and after US markets closed higher last night, Asian markets made gains overnight and European markets edged higher this morning. London markets were lifted by an 8% gain for Vodafone Group, which has now openly admitted that it is in talks to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to its partner, Verizon Communications. According to a Bloomberg report, the deal is said to be worth $130bn, and Verizon is currently in discussions with banks to raise $60bn in financing. Elsewhere, France’s largest retailer, supermarket firm Carrefour SA, gained 4.1% after reporting a rise in sales. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was up 0.5%, the DAX was up 0.06% and the CAC 40 was up 0.1%.
In the US today, investors will be watching for this week’s initial jobless claims report, which is due at 8.30am ET and is expected to show that new unemployment benefit claims fell slightly to 330,000 last week, down from 336,000 during the previous week. Also at 8.30am, the revised second-quarter GDP reading is expected to show that the US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.3% during the second quarter, up from an initial estimate of 1.7%.
Companies scheduled to report earnings before the markets open today include Campbell Soup, which is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of $0.42 per share, and Genesco. Guess may also be in focus; shares in the apparel company rose by 17% in after-hours trading last night, after Guess reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.52 per share, beating analysts’ forecasts for $0.40 per share.
Verizon shares are also likely to be in demand; the telco’s share price was up 4.2% in pre-market trading following news of a possible deal with Vodafone. After markets close today, Salesforce.com is expected to report quarterly earnings of $0.07 per share, while Splunk and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are also expected to update investors.
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 owns shares in Vodafone but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.