LONDON -- Futures markets are penciling in a lower start for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) today, with the flagship index expected to open down by about 0.2%.
Following the Fed's reduced U.S. growth forecasts, a raft of new economic data is due out today, but it is not expected to provide much encouragement. First up are the latest weekly jobless claims figures, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. These are expected to be little changed from last week at 385,000, marginally lower than last week's 386,000. As the morning progresses, June's Markit Flash PMI and the latest Philly Fed and existing home sales figures are also due.
In Europe, news that Greece has formed a government failed to lift markets, with the Athex Composite Share Price Index extending yesterday's losses and down 0.8% by 7 a.m. EDT. The latest news from China caused the price of oil and other commodities to slide, with June's HSBC flash Purchasing Managers Index showing that export orders are at the lowest levels since 2009. New manufacturing PMI figures from Germany and France showed that the manufacturing sectors of both countries are continuing to contract, while the latest Eurozone composite PMI (which combines manufacturing and services) came in at 46, indicating that the rate of contraction remained broadly unchanged in June.
The most interesting event in Europe this morning was the latest Spanish bond auction, at which it attempted to sell a new batch of two-, three-, and five-year bonds. Spain managed to sell more than the targeted amount, but at a price -- the yield on five-year bonds averaged 6.072%, up from 4.96% last time and the highest for 15 years. The yield on existing 10-year bonds fell to 6.5% in trading this morning.
European markets finished the morning broadly lower. At 7 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down 0.7%, the DAX was down 0.5%, and the CAC 40 was 0.6% lower. Spain's IBEX 35 was up by 0.1%, while Italy's FTSE MIB was also higher, up 0.2%. In London, commodities shares proved the biggest drag on the leading index, with mining giant Anglo American and oil super-major BP leading the fallers, both down by about 2.5% late morning.
Companies that may be active when the markets open this morning include ConAgra Foods and CarMax, both of which are due to release results before the markets open. Results are also due from Rite Aid (NYS: RAD) , which is expected to report first-quarter profit.
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