Markets Hesitate as Fed Committee Meets

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) may open higher this morning, according to futures markets. Trading is expected to be cautious ahead of Wednesday's Fed announcement and Thursday's European Central Bank statement.

Despite this, a considerable amount of new economic data is due today. Personal income and consumer spending figures are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are expected to show small increases. Due at the same time are June's core PCE and employment cost indexes, both of which are also expected to rise slightly. At 9 a.m. EDT the Case-Shiller Home Price index for May is due, followed at 9:45 a.m. EDT by the Chicago PMI and finally July's Consumer Confidence Index at 10 a.m. EDT.

In company news, Pfizer is expected to report earnings before the bell, while at the time of writing, Aetna had already reported earnings 5% above analysts' expectations for the second quarter. Other major companies due to report this morning include Tyco International, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, United States Steel, and Cummins. Shares of Seagate Technology could also see active trading when markets open following disappointing quarterly figures, which were published after the bell last night.

In Europe, the main markets got off to a cautious start this morning, but Spain's IBEX and Italy's FTSE MIB soon picked up yesterday's rally and surged ahead before falling back, finishing the morning up by 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up by 0.5%, and France's CAC was up by just 0.2%.

London's flagship FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) index was down by 0.4% at 7 a.m. EDT, despite moderate gains from many big resource shares. The main force holding back the index was oil giant BP, which was down 4% on high volumes following weak Q2 figures. Engineering group Weir, which has a heavy presence in the oil and gas industry, was also down following its latest update.

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