LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by 0.1% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open unchanged. The CNN Fear & Greed Index remains in 'extreme fear' territory, and is set to open at 21 today, after closing at 19 yesterday.
European stock markets fell this morning, as a surprise profit warning from Irish budget airline Ryanair triggered a major sell-off of airline stocks, and investors turned cautious as the likelihood of military action in Syria grows. News that the eurozone composite PMI rose to 51.5 in August, up from 50.5 in July, failed to boost sentiment, and at 7am ET, the FTSE 100 was down 0.51%, the DAX was down 0.56%, and the CAC 40 was down 0.83%.
In the US today, the economic calendar kicks off at 8.30am ET with July's trade deficit. Forecasts suggest that the deficit expanded to -$39.0bn in July, an increase from -$34.2bn in June. August's motor vehicle sales figures are due through the day and are expected to show that new vehicle sales rose to 15.8m in August, up slightly from 15.7m in July. Finally, at 2pm, the Federal Reserve Beige Book may provide further insight into the current state of the economy.
Corporate earnings that may be in focus today include H & R Block, which fell nearly 4% in after-hours trading last night after reporting a widening loss of $0.42 per share for its fiscal first quarter, down from $0.39 per share for the same period last year. Dollar General is scheduled to report its second-quarter results before the bell this morning, along with Francesca's Holdings, Navistar and SAIC, which earlier reported second-quarter sales of $2.47bn, down 13% from the same period last year and below expectations. SAIC reported earnings per share of $0.13, missing expectations, and lowered its full-year earnings guidance to between $0.95 and $1.03, below analysts' consensus estimates of $1.15.
Other stocks that may be actively traded today include LinkedIn. The social networking firm said last night that it intends to sell $1bn of shares via a secondary offering to strengthen its balance sheet. LinkedIn's share price has risen by 115% so far this year, but fell by 2% in after-hours trading following the news.
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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