New Economic Data Will Guide the Dow

LONDON -- Yesterday's strong economic news propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) to a four-year closing high of 13,279. Today's direction is likely to be influenced by the April's ADP employment report, due before the market open, and by March's factory order data, which will be published later in the morning.

In pre-market trading, investors seemed bearish on Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) , and they may reverse some of yesterday's gains on the stock. News that UBS AG's (NYS: UBS) first-quarter profits were down by 54% could also sink the Swiss bank's ADRs in early trade.

Even if the economic data is good at home, bad news from European markets could weigh on today's trading. The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) finished the morning down by 0.5%, while the STOXX 50 index of top European stocks was down 0.8% at noon.

The falls were caused by news that unemployment in the eurozone had reached a record level of 10.9%. New data also showed that most European countries had seen a fall in manufacturing output in recent months. The price of long-dated UK and German government bonds rose as investors sought out safety, while U.K. banking shares, notably Barclays (NYS: BCS) , reversed some of yesterday's gains.

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Back at home, earnings data from Comcast, Visa, and Time Warner is expected before the markets open, with updates due during the day from MasterCard and Marathon Oil.

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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head owns no shares of the companies mentioned.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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