LONDON -- After rallying more than 1% yesterday, the futures market suggests the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) will open down slightly this morning after credit-rating agency Fitch downgraded Japan's sovereign debt last night.
However, other economic news is expected to be positive and may help lift the market during the day. Home sales figures for April are expected to show an improvement from March, with consensus forecasts suggesting an increase in the annual sales rate from 4.48 million to 4.65 million.
Further afield, news that China is planning to bring forward major infrastructure projects helped lift Asian stocks overnight, while high expectations for tomorrow's EU leaders' summit continued to support share prices in Europe.
The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) , DAX, and CAC 40 were all up around 0.5% by the end of the morning, as was Spain's IBEX 35. Markets were also encouraged by last night's news that the European Central Bank had provided 100 billion euros of emergency liquidity assistance to Greece to help keep the country's banks afloat.
Elsewhere in Europe, reduced OECD growth forecasts for the eurozone region failed to seriously dampen sentiment, while news that U.K. inflation had fallen to within its target range for the first time since February 2010 was well-received in London. Buyer appetite was strong during the latest Spanish government bond auction, but the interest came at a price, with the yield on six-month bills rising to 1.74% from 1.58% in April.
Rising oil and copper prices meant that big miners and resource stocks gained in London trading this morning, with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton (NYS: BHP) both rising on strong volumes -- although much higher volume was seen in trading of Vodafone (NAS: VOD) shares, following strong full-year results from the telecom company.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffet is being talked about again today, following the announcement that dialysis clinic operator DaVita (NYS: DVA) , which is backed by Berkshire Hathaway, will acquire HealthCare Partners in a $4.4 billion deal that will broaden DaVita's reach.
Although Buffett's investments are usually in the U.S., he did recently invest in the U.K., making a $1 billion investment in a leading British blue-chip brand with global expansion potential. You can discover the name of the company and the price he paid in this special free report.
A number of major retail and tech companies are due to release earnings today, including Best Buy, Medtronic, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Dell will provide its latest quarterly update after the markets close tonight.
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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head owns shares in Vodafone but owns no other shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic, Best Buy, and Berkshire Hathaway.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vodafone Group, Dell, and Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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