Euro Uncertainty Tops Dow Agenda

LONDON -- After closing down by 25 points last night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is expected to open up by a similar amount this morning, according to futures markets.

The morning will start with the latest housing starts and building permits data. A Reuters survey suggests an increase in new starts from 717,000 in April to 720,000 in May, with housing permits rising from 723,000 to 728,000. Monthly job opening data for April is due at 10 a.m. EDT, and traders will also be interested in the outcome of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's second visit to Capitol Hill. Dimon is due to testify to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is expected to be a more critical audience for Dimon than the Senate Banking Committee proved to be.

Economic news will continue to dominate the agenda. The Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting to discuss interest rates starts today, and most analysts are expecting the FOMC to announce a new round of Operation Twist when the meeting concludes tomorrow. In Europe, hopes are high that Greece will announce the successful formation of a new coalition government today, while the communique issued by the G20 summit last night suggests that European governments might be moving toward greater banking and fiscal union. However, concrete developments are unlikely before the next EU summit at the end of June.

Spain tested the appetite of the bond markets this morning with an auction of 12-month and 18-month bonds. It was able to sell the full 3 billion euro allocation but was forced to pay an average yield of 5.07% for 12 months and 5.1% for 18 months, up from 2.98% and 3.3%, respectively, at the last auction. Such interest rates are widely seen as unsustainable and raise concerns over the yields that will be demanded by the bond markets when Spain attempts to sell longer-dated debt on Thursday. The yield on existing Spanish 10-year debt is currently 7.09%, and Spain's situation wasn't helped by this morning's announcement that the full results of its banking audit will now be delayed until September. The preliminary results of the audit are due this week, possibly today.

European markets were broadly positive this morning. At 7 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was up by 0.8%, the DAX by 0.4%, and the CAC 40 by 0.1%. Spain's IBEX 35 was up by 1.4%, Italy's FTSE MIB by 1%, and the Greek Athex Composite Share Price Index was also stronger, up by 1.7%.

In company news, Oracle (NAS: ORCL) may be in demand today after the software giant released strong quarterly figures after the bell on Monday. FedEx (NYS: FDX) is also due to release quarterly results today, with analysts expecting earnings of $1.95 per share on revenue of $11.22 billion. Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) is expected to post a loss of $0.92 per share, despite a 2.1% increase in like-for-like sales.

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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of JP Morgan Chase and Oracle. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of FedEx. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing puts on Barnes & Noble. 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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