Dow May Open Lower on Earnings News

LONDON -- Markets are expected to open lower this morning, with futures trading suggesting that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) will open about 30 points lower following Friday's strong gains.

This morning's trading may be affected by the latest retail sales figures and Empire State Index, both of which are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are expected to have risen slightly. Friday's focus on the financial sector will continue, with Citigroup due to report quarterly earnings before markets open. Analysts are penciling in earnings of $0.89 per share. Media firm Gannett and trucking giant J.B. Hunt are also expected to release figures today.

Earnings will dominate much of the financial news over the next fortnight, with most S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) and Dow Jones companies due to release figures during the next two weeks. Also in the spotlight again this week may be the LIBOR scandal, as reports are now emerging that some of Barclays' London traders may face prosecution in the U.S. later this year.

In Europe, markets opened cautiously, slipping slightly but not making any substantial movement from Friday's closing levels. Markets are waiting for the publication of the latest IMF World Economic Outlook, which is expected to contain downgraded growth forecasts for a number of European countries. Meanwhile, the Netherlands joined the negative yield club, selling a new batch of 3.5-month bonds at a yield of -0.041% and highlighting the country's status as one of the stronger members of the Eurozone.

In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down by around 0.1% at 7 a.m. EDT. The biggest mover by far was security outsourcing specialist G4S (ISE: GFS.L) , which fell more than 9% after the company confirmed that it faced a loss of 35 million pounds to 50 million pounds on its Olympic Games contract after it failed to recruit sufficient security guards for the upcoming 2012 Games. Thousands of British Army soldiers will now be used to provide security instead, with G4S meeting the additional costs of the operation.

Luckily, G4S is not the British blue chip company in which Warren Buffett recently invested $1 billion, making a rare investment outside his home country. That company is a famous British FTSE 100 brand that's currently out of favor but has global expansion potential and a superb dividend record. You can get the full details of the deal in this special free report -- including the identity of the company and the price Buffett paid for his shares.

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