Dow Futures Fall Ahead of Jobs Figures

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by 0.41% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open down 0.50%. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index remains neutral, at 47, down from yesterday’s close of 50.

European markets were mostly lower this morning, as a combination of low volumes and profit-taking caused most of the main indices to fall.

Swiss insurer Zurich Insurance was one of the high-profile fallers, dropping 3.6% after missing analysts’ second-quarter profit forecasts following larger-than-expected disaster losses. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.92%, the DAX was down 0.65% and the CAC 40 was down 0.36%.

US investors will have plenty to focus on before markets open this morning.

At 8.30am, the latest weekly jobless claims figures are expected to show initial claims remaining unchanged at 333,000 last week, while July’s consumer price index is expected to show that prices rose by 0.2% in July, after rising by 0.5% during June.

At 9.15am, new figures are expected to show that industrial production rose by 0.2% in July after gaining 0.3% in June, while capacity utilisation rose to 77.9%, from the 77.8% in June.

Finally, at 10am, August’s home builders index is expected to drop slightly to 55, from 57 in July, while August’s Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey is expected to have fallen to 15.0, from 19.8 in July.

Earnings may come back into focus today, too.

Among the big names due to report before the opening bell are Wal-Mart Stores, which is expected to report second-quarter earnings of $1.25 per share, and fellow retailer Kohl’s, which is expected to report second-quarter earnings of $1.04 per share. Estee Lauder Companies is also expected to report before the open, while Nordstrom is scheduled to report after the close tonight.

One stock that is likely to be actively traded when markets open is Cisco Systems. The networking giant reported fiscal fourth-quarter results in line with expectations yesterday, but surprised investors on the subsequent conference call when it announced plans to lay off 4,000 workers due to a weakening outlook.

Following the call, Cisco’s stock fell almost 10% and is currently down by 8.4% in pre-market trading.

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.