Uncertain Start as Dow Awaits Data

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LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is likely to make a cautious start today and may open slightly lower as markets wait for new economic data and position themselves cautiously as this weekend's Greek elections approach.

Of particular interest today will be the retail sales figures and producer index for May, both due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Both measures are expected to show a decline from last month. Due later this morning are April's business inventories and the EIA weekly petroleum status report. Traders will also be following JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's testimony to a Senate banking panel, due to begin at 10 a.m. EDT, hoping for further clues as to the scale of the bank's losses.

In Europe this morning, new figures showed that eurozone industrial output fell by 0.8% in April and is 2.3% lower than a year ago. The Italian government held an auction of one-year bonds, which sold at an average yield of 3.972% -- the highest level in six months, highlighting contagion fears. Germany also held a bond auction, selling 4 billion euros of 10-year bonds at a yield of 1.52%, up from 1.47% at the last auction.


European markets traded broadly flat through the morning. At 7:00 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down just 0.07%, while the DAX was down 0.44%, France's CAC 40 was down 0.28%, and Spain's IBEX 35 was up by just more than 1%.

In company news, Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) shares were active in premarket trading following news that the company's $19.7 billion acquisition of Swiss medical-device maker Synthes is expected to complete on Thursday and should result in a slight addition to profits for the year, rather than the expected subtraction. Of interest to resource investors is the news that Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, has been expanding its grip on the world's market for tungsten, a super-hard metal. Although Buffett is famously opposed to investing in gold, he sees big opportunities in this metal, which is essential in a number of industries.

A further example of billionaire investor Buffett's long-sighted vision came when he recently doubled his stake in one of the U.K.'s biggest blue-chip brands, which also has a presence in the U.S. market. If you would like to know what persuaded Buffett to buy and how much he paid, you can find this information in this special free report.

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At the time this article was published Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Johnson & Johnson.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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