Dow May Rise on Jobless Data

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) may open slightly higher this morning if weekly jobless claims figures deliver the forecast improvement. The market might also take a keen interest in the conclusion from the European Central Bank's monthly meeting, expected at 8:30 EDT.

However, good news early in the day could be overshadowed by new data showing that productivity is falling while labor costs continue to rise. A small fall in the ISM non-manufacturing index is also expected.

Early pre-market trading indicated that companies likely to be active today would include and Chesapeake Energy. A fall in first-quarter profits at Safeway earlier this week also attracted pre-market activity, with the shares trending downwards.

In the U.K., the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) rose by 0.5% through the morning in anticipation of supportive news from the European Central Bank. Decent first-quarter results from health-care giant (NYS: SNN) and a broker upgrade for InterContinental Hotels Group (NYS: IHG) may lift the ADRs of these companies when the market opens.

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Later today, investors may focus on the food sector, as both Sara Lee and Kraft Foods (NYS: KFT) issue their latest quarterly figures.

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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 Smith & Nephew. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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