Dow Futures Flat As Countdown To Fed Minutes Begins

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by a nominal 2 points this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open unchanged. CNN’s Fear & Greed Index has continued its slide into the fear zone, and is set to open at 36, after closing at 39 on Friday.

European markets edged lower this morning, and at 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.25%, the DAX was down 0.15%, the CAC 40 was down 0.68% and Italy’s FTEX MIB was down 1.72%. Banking stocks and mining companies were amongst the worst performers; one of the biggest fallers in London was Glencore Xstrata, which was down 1.8% following reports that newly-merged firm will write down some former Xstrata assets by as much as $7bn in its results, which are due to be published on Tuesday.

No major economic reports are due in the US today, but attention and speculation will inevitably be focused on Wednesday, when the latest Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes are due to be published. The meeting took place on 31 July and investors will be searching carefully for further clues about possible changes to the Fed’s bond-buying policy in September.

Among a small group of companies scheduled to report quarterly results before markets open today is diversified manufacturer Raven Industries. After tonight’s close, Urban Outfitters is expected to report second-quarter earnings of $0.48 per share, while Bob Evans Farms is expected to report earnings for its fiscal first quarter of $0.56 per share.

Other companies that may be actively traded today include Hewlett-Packard Company. The computer giant’s share price was down by 4.2% this morning, ahead of its third-quarter earnings, which are scheduled to be published on Wednesday and are expected to show a 13% fall in earnings per share, according to analysts’ consensus forecasts. Vacuum-pump maker Edwards Group is likely to pop when markets open — the firm’s share price rose by 34% in German trading this morning, after it said that Atlas Copco AB is to buy the company for $1.2bn. Barrick Gold and other gold miners may also perform strongly, as gold holds onto recent gains.

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.