Flat Start Likely for the Dow

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 look set for a muted start, with pre-market trading suggesting a 12-point fall for the Dow.

Individual stocks that may rally this morning include Sunoco (NYS: SUN) , which disclosed it is to be acquired by Energy Transfer Partners for $50 per share. Sunoco closed on Friday at $41.

New economic data that might impact today's trading includes personal income and consumption figures for March, which are expected to show that income rose by 0.3%, and spending by 0.4%. February's comparative figures were 0.2% and 0.8%, suggesting slightly weaker spending, perhaps due to rising inflation.

The latest Core PCI Price Index is also due and is expected to show an increase of 0.2% in March.

In Europe, news that Spain is back in recession contributed to a 0.6% fall in the country's main IBEX 35 index, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 and France's CAC 40 also weakening in light trading through the morning. Germany's DAX index bucked the trend, finishing the morning up by 0.1%.

In London markets also opened weaker, with the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) slipping 0.5% to 5,750 by noon.

Top UK risers against the trend included AstraZeneca (NYS: AZN) and BHP Billiton (NYS: BBL) . However, neither of these was the company that recently persuaded billionaire Warren Buffett to invest more than $1 billion. The legendary investor bought a famous British name with global expansion potential -- and you can discover the name of the company and the price he paid in this latest free report.

Earnings season continues today, with NYSE Euronext unveiling first-quarter earnings slightly below expectations before the open and Anadarko Petroleum and McKesson Corporation due to reveal earnings after the market closes tonight.

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At the time this article was published Roland Head 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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