LONDON -- After closing down by more than 1% yesterday, the futures markets are pricing in an opening rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) this morning, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes also expected to open higher on renewed hopes of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Economic data due out today includes the Federal Budget for May and the latest Import Price Index, which is expected to show an extension of last month's fall.
In Europe, Spanish and Italian government bond yields continued to rise this morning, with the yield on 10-year Spanish bonds reaching 6.6% at one point. U.K. manufacturing fell by 1% in April compared to last year, and Greece sold 1.6 billion euros of six-month bonds at a yield of 4.73%. All the major European markets managed to rise slightly during the morning, with the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) up by 0.4% at 7 a.m. EDT, and the DAX, CAC 40, and IBEX 35 all advancing by similar amounts.
In European company news, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYS: GSK) rose slightly in London trading on news that it is to purchase eczema drug Toctino from Basilea Pharmaceutica for an initial cash payment of 146 million pounds. Lloyds Banking Group (NYS: LYG) fell in early trading but recovered, following news that it has sold its remittance business in Japan to Shinsei Bank as part of an expected plan to exit the Japanese market.
The world's largest cement maker, Lafarge SA, was up by more than 1% after it reported planned cost savings of $1.6 billion over the next three years. Following yesterday's 8% fall in Garmin shares, TomTom NV surged by 12% this morning after news that Apple had agreed to use its digital maps.
In U.S. company news, Berkshire Hathaway hit the headlines on news that its private jet-hire subsidiary, NetJets, has placed a $9.6 billion order for up to 425 new jets from Bombardier and Textron Inc (NYS: TXT) , which owns the Cessna brand. Aviation experts say the orders are likely to have been heavily discounted below the headline price of $9.6 billion and that the order had been well-timed to capitalize on the industry's desire to rebuild its order books.
The deal is a typical example of Warren Buffett's confident judgement in uncertain market conditions -- something that was also in evidence when the billionaire investor recently doubled his stake in one of the U.K.'s biggest blue-chip brands, which also has a presence in the U.S. market. If you would like to know what persuaded Buffett to buy and how much he paid, you can find this information in this special free report.
Other shares that could be active in trading today include Michael Kors and FactSet, with both due to report earnings before the market opens.
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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head owns shares in GlaxoSmithKline but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Textron. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of FactSet Research Systems C, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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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