Dow Futures Dip As Markets Near Record Highs

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by seven points this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open down by just one point. The CNN Fear & Greed Index remains neutral, and is set to open at 47, after closing at 49 yesterday.

European markets retreated from early gains to end the morning slightly lower, as ongoing concerns over the potential pace at which the Fed may taper its bond-buying programme prompted investors to remain cautious ahead of this afternoon’s US jobless claims figures. At 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was unchanged, the DAX was down 0.1%, and the CAC 40 was down 0.3%.

Today’s economic calendar start with this week’s initial jobless claims report at 8.30am ET, which is expected to show that 330,000 people made new unemployment claims last week, up from 323,000 during the previous week. Also at 8.30am, August’s import price index is expected to show that import prices rose by 0.4% in August, after gaining 0.2% in July. Finally, at 2pm, August’s Federal budget is due, with forecasts suggesting a reduced deficit of $150bn, compared to a deficit of $190bn in July.

Companies scheduled to report quarterly results before this morning’s opening bell include tech firm Comverse, grocer Kroger, and Lululemon Athletica. Internet radio company Pandora Media rose by 4.8% in after-hours trading last night, and may open higher today, after announcing the appointment of former Microsoft executive Brian McAndrews as its new chief executive, president and chairman. Facebook may also rise; the social networking giant closed up 3.3% at a record high yesterday, and was nearly 1% higher in pre-market trading this morning.

Other stocks that may be actively traded include The Men’s Wearhouse, which fell almost 15% in pre-market trading this morning, after missing second-quarter earnings forecasts and cutting full-year guidance last night. Handbag firm Vera Bradley also disappointed analysts with its guidance after the close last night, and may open lower, after falling 8.6% in after-hours trading. Meanwhile, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and electronics manufacturer Ametek could both gain when markets open — both companies are being promoted to the S&P 500, where they will replace Advanced Micro Devices and SAIC after the close on September 20.

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.