Dow to Rise, Despite Uncertainty


LONDON -- In what is expected to be a light day for economic data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is set to open higher this morning, according to the futures market.

Domestic news today includes the weekly jobless claim figures, which are expected to be broadly flat from last week at 373,000. The April data for durable-goods orders is also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with forecasts suggesting an increase in orders after the 3.9% fall seen in March.

In Asia, the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite indexes closed down slightly after preliminary data from HSBC suggested China's manufacturing sector has contracted again.

In Europe, last night's EU summit was inconclusive, and the outcome of the meeting suggests no new decisions will be made regarding Greece until after the Greek elections on June 17.

In addition, this morning saw the release of a mixed batch of European economic data. German GDP rose by 0.5% in the first quarter, but the latest Markit Composite PMI figures showed that private-sector activity in Germany had contracted for the first time since November. In France, the Markit PMI indicated private-sector contraction had accelerated, with a fall from 45.9 in April to 44.7 in May.

In the U.K., the Office for National Statistics published a revised estimate showing that GDP fell by 0.3% in the first quarter -- not the 0.2% originally reported -- with weak construction activity the culprit. The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was relatively unmoved by this morning's weak economic data and has been recapturing yesterday's losses, gaining more than 1% by late morning. Big risers included BP (NYS: BP) and Prudential (NYS: PUK) .

One name likely to see heavy activity today is Hewlett Packard (NYS: HPQ) . HP's stock was up strongly in pre-market trading following yesterday's announcements of better-than-expected earnings and substantial job cuts.

Meanwhile, Rajat Gupta's insider trading trial has brought billionaire investor Warren Buffett into the spotlight once more. According to witnesses at the trial, Buffett's decision to invest in Goldman Sachs at the height of the financial crisis was taken in a 10-to 20-minute phone call. Buffett's Goldman preference shares have proved to be an excellent investment for the billionaire investor -- and you can read about one of his other clever investments in this special free report.

Other companies due to report earnings through the day today include HJ Heinz, Costco Wholesale, and Tiffany.

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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head owns no shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of The Goldman Sachs Group, H.J. Heinz, and Costco Wholesale. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended shorting Tiffany. The Motley Fool has a disclosure 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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