Dow Futures Lower As Bernanke Shades Earnings

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by 0.12% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open 1.5 points lower. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index is set to open today at 57, down slightly from yesterday’s close of 61.

European markets edged away from recent highs this morning, after the minutes of July’s Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed that all nine policymakers voted against extending the Bank’s current bond-buying programme. The vote has been split 6-3 in recent months, so July’s vote suggests a hardening of opinion that the quantitative easing programme has gone far enough. This sentiment was supported by a bigger-than-expected fall in UK unemployment in June, when unemployment claims fell by 21,000, beating expectations for a fall of 8,000. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.36%, the DAX was down 0.44%, and the CAC 40 was 0.32% lower.

In the US, investors are likely to focus on comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who begins his twice-yearly report to Congress today, at 10am ET. Prior to that, June’s housing starts figures are due at 8.30am, and are expected to show that housing starts rose by 3.9% to 950,000 last month, from 914,000 in May.

Today’s corporate earnings calendar is very full and includes a number of big names. PNC Financial Services Group reported net income of $1.1 billion and diluted earnings of $1.99 per share for the second quarter, up from $1 billion and $0.98 per share for the same period last year. Bank of New York Mellon Corp reported an 82% rise in second-quarter earnings, thanks to the combined effects of a one-time investment gain this year, and a litigation charge taken by the bank during the second quarter of last year. Meanwhile, Mattel reported earnings of $0.21 per share, down by 25% from the same period last year, thanks to declining sales of Barbie dolls, which dropped by 12% during the quarter.

Other companies due to report their latest quarterly earnings before markets open include Bank of America, Intel Corp, Abbot Laboratories and US Bancorp. Key results due after the close tonight include International Business Machines, eBay and American Express.

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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.