Dow Ready to Open Higher

The market looks set to extend yesterday's gains, while European trading sees Shell and Nokia slide lower.

Following Wednesday's 89-point rise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) seems ready to recover further ground lost earlier in the week. In early pre-market trade, the futures market was pricing a 61-point advance and implied an opening beyond 12,800.

Economic data may influence today's trading, with trade-deficit figures, weekly jobless numbers, and producer prices all to be announced before the open. Certainly there was little guidance from Asia, where markets recorded modest gains overnight, or from early trading in Europe, where indexes were mostly mixed. Ongoing doubts about Spanish and Italian bonds, however, did knock a further 1%-plus from Madrid- and Milan-traded stocks.

The ADRs of Royal Dutch Shell (NYS: RDS.A) and Nokia (NYS: NOK) may be active at the opening bell.

Shell, Europe's largest oil producer, saw its shares slide 4% in London after acknowledging a "light sheen" of oil had been discovered between two of the group's platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The sheen is said to be 10 miles long and one mile wide.

Meanwhile, Nokia fell a further 5% in European trading as doubts were raised about the mobile phone group's credit status. News yesterday of an operating loss within the firm's handset division wiped 15% off the stock, and some analysts now reckon a junk rating is on the horizon.

Back home, earnings season continues tonight, with Google (NAS: GOOG) being a particular highlight. The search engine reports its first-quarter figures after-hours and, following an earnings miss three months ago, some observers expect no such problems this time around. Quarterly earnings are predicted to rally 19% to almost $10 a share.

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At the time thisarticle was published Maynard Paton owns no shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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