LONDON -- Following yesterday's strong rally on the back of positive housing data, attention this morning will turn to first-quarter GDP figures. Surveys at Reuters and Bloomberg suggest the value of goods and services produced in the U.S. may have improved at an annualised 2.5% -- below the 3% indicated three months ago.
Ahead of the GDP numbers, few traders were prepared to bet on the direction of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) . During early pre-market trade, the futures market priced in a minor loss to keep the benchmark index around the 13,200 mark.
Among individual stocks, Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) could be active at the open. After yesterday's close, the online retailer revealed revenue up 34% to $13 billion and operating income down 40% to $192 million. The stock jumped 12% to $220 during after-hours trading.
Meanwhile, Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) could be an early casualty during today's session. Although the coffee chain said late yesterday that its Q2 earnings had jumped 18%, a disappointing outlook statement sent its stock tumbling 5% to $57 in post-close trade.
Other stocks that could be active at today's open include Ford Motor (NYS: F) , Merck, and Procter & Gamble, all of whom publish results before the bell.
Over in Europe, the markets opened weaker today in response to Standard & Poor's decision to cut Spain's credit rating for the second time this year. The ratings agency lowered the country's credit status from "A" to "BBB+," and Madrid-traded stocks initially fell by more than 2%.
However, the early losses were mostly erased, with Spain and most other European bourses trading flat at lunchtime. News from Italy's month-end bond auction, set for later today, may cause fresh volatility.
In the UK, corporate results from the media sector helped the benchmark FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) strike a small advance. In particular, the publisher of the Financial Times, Pearson, registered modest share-price gains after revealing first-quarter sales up 11%. Elsewhere, WPP, the world's largest advertising group, climbed higher following a better-than-budgeted Q1 profit.
However, the progress at neither Pearson nor WPP has been attractive enough to encourage Warren Buffett to invest more than $1 billion. The legendary investor recently bought a famous British large cap with global expansion potential -- and you can discover the name of the company and the price he paid in this latest free report.
The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better. Are you looking to profit from this uncertain economy? "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" is The Motley Fool's free report. We urge you to read the report today -- it may transform your wealth. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy.
Further investment opportunities:
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.
Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.