Dow Waits: Will ECB Cut Rates?

LONDON -- Today could prove to be a busy day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) , which futures markets expect to open down slightly this morning. The Bank of England has announced that it will inject a further 50 billion into the U.K. economy through its quantitative easing program, but interest rates will remain unchanged at 0.5%. The next key decision will come at 7:45 a.m. EDT, when the European Central Bank announces the outcome of its monthly rate-setting meeting. A 0.25% cut is widely expected, taking the rate to 0.75%, but not any further stimulus measures.

In domestic news, the latest ADP employment figures are due at 8:15 a.m. EDT, followed by weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT -- expected to be unchanged from last week. Following these, the ISM nonmanufacturing PMI for June is due at 10 a.m. EDT. This is expected to have fallen from 53.7 in May to 52.9 in June, but Monday's shock fall in the ISM manufacturing figures suggests that a more dramatic fall may be possible. Although no major company earnings are expected today, companies that are due to report and may be active in trading include International Speedway and retailer Target, which is due to report June's sales figures today.

In London, FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) engineering firm GKN (ISE: GKN.L) topped the leaderboard, gaining 13% on news of its long-awaited deal to buy the aero engine division of Swedish firm AB Volvo. The wider index had risen by just 0.26% as of 7 a.m. EDT, while in Germany the DAX was up by 0.6%, outperforming the main French, Spanish, and Italian indexes. Spain's IBEX 35 was the only one of these to end the morning lower, most likely because traders were troubled by the apparent failure of last week's EU summit deal to help reduce Spanish government borrowing costs. The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds rose to 6.63% this morning following the country's latest debt auction, at which new 10-year bonds sold for an average yield of 6.43%, up from 6.04% last month.

Although GKN was not the company legendary investor Warren Buffett chose to invest in when he took a look at the U.K. market recently, the big FTSE 100 brand he did choose attracted him so strongly that he invested more than $1 billion, taking his holding in the company to more than 5%. The company in question has global expansion potential and an exceptionally long record of dividend increases -- two factors sure to have attracted the billionaire investor. You can find out the identity of the company and the price he paid in this special free report.

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At the time thisarticle was published Roland Head owns no shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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