Stronger Start Likely for Dow

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is expected to open strongly this morning, with futures markets pricing in a 52-point opening rise on what should prove to be an action-packed day in the markets.

The morning will start with a raft of new economic data, including June's consumer price index, industrial production, and core CPI numbers. Shortly after, at 10 a.m. EDT, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to testify before the Senate Banking Committee -- and traders will be watching for any clues about the likelihood of further stimulus efforts from the Fed.

A stream of major earnings reports are due throughout the day. Mattel reported early this morning, surprising to the upside with quarterly earnings per share that were 33% above analysts' expectations. Still to come today are updates from Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, and State Street, among others. Results from tech giants Intel and Yahoo! are due after the bell tonight, but fallen Internet giant Yahoo! advanced 2.8% in early trading on news that former Google executive Melissa Mayer is the company's new CEO.

In London, the markets were keeping an eye on Bank of England governor Mervyn King's testimony to a parliamentary committee, and they'll be focused on Bernanke's comments this afternoon. But there were some individual names that stood out, for better or worse. G4S continued yesterday's descent thanks to its Olympic debacle, and Barclays made a surprise appearance at the top of the leaderboard, gaining more than 2% through the morning. At the end of the morning, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down by around 0.4%.

Elsewhere in Europe, it was a quieter morning, with most major indexes making modest gains. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX, CAC, and FTSE MIB were all up by about 0.3%, while Spain's IBEX was up by a more decisive 1%, reversing some of yesterday's losses. There was little news from the eurozone this morning, but there was some encouragement from the bond markets, where Spain managed to sell 3.5 billion euros of 12-month bills at an average yield of 3.818% -- considerably lower than last month, when it paid 5.074%.

One of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's oldest and largest holdings is in Coca-Cola, which reports today, but a more recent acquisition for the world's third-richest man is his 5% holding in a famous U.K. blue chip brand. This FTSE 100 company is currently out of favor with investors, but it offers strong expansion potential and a very long history of earnings and dividend growth. 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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Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Coca-Cola, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Google, Goldman Sachs Group, Intel, and Mattel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bear put spread position in Mattel. 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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