Early Slump Likely for Dow

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is expected to open sharply lower this morning, with futures markets suggesting an opening drop of around 150 points as fears over the eurozone crisis and Chinese growth come sharply into focus once more.

With little in the way of domestic economic news today, the only possible bright spot for U.S. markets may be corporate earnings. At the time of writing, Hasbro and Eaton had both published positive quarterly earnings figures, with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Halliburton, and McDonald's all set to follow before markets open.

In Europe, markets have fallen this morning as concerns have risen that Greece will be unable to meet the terms of its bailout agreement, leading the country to lose its emergency European funding. Germany's economy minister, Philipp Rosler, said over the weekend that he was "very skeptical" that Greece would be able to meet its bailout commitments. Failure to do so is likely to result in the country leaving the euro and defaulting on more of its debt.

In Spain, two of the country's cash-strapped regional governments have now requested state aid, with more expected to follow. Fears that Spain's finances are in worse shape than expected have driven bond yields up this morning, with Spanish 10-year bonds now yielding an unsustainable 7.5%.

At 7 a.m. EDT, Spain's IBEX index was down by 2.9%, while Italy's FTSE MIB was down by nearly 4%, France's CAC was down 2%, and Germany's DAX was down by 1.7%.

In London, shares fell heavily in morning trading, with the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) losing 1.7% before lunchtime. The biggest fallers were mostly resource and financial shares, with insurer Aviva (NYS: AV) losing more than 5% thanks to fears about its exposure to the eurozone crisis. A weekend comment from one of China's central bank advisers that GDP growth may fall to 7.4% this quarter heightened investors' concerns and has contributed to falling commodity prices this morning.

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Roland Head owns shares in Aviva but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's and Hasbro. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Halliburton, and Hasbro. 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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