Markets to Open Higher Before Fed Announcement


LONDON -- Futures markets indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are expected to open higher this morning as markets eagerly await today's announcement from the Federal Reserve, which is due at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

Hopes are high that further stimulus measures will be announced this afternoon, while a new batch of economic data that's due through the morning offers the potential to further fuel the market. First up, at 8:15 a.m. EDT, is the latest ADP employment survey, which is expected to show that 105,000 jobs were created in July, down from 176,000 in June. July's Markit Purchasing Managers Index is due at 9 a.m. EDT and is seen remaining broadly unchanged.

At 10 a.m. EDT, June's construction spending figures are expected to show a 0.4% rise from last month, while the ISM manufacturing PMI for July is expected to rise to 50.2 from 49.75. Finally, July's motor vehicle sales figures are also due through the day, with sales expected to total 14 million, down slightly from 14.1 million in June.

Companies that may be actively traded include Time Warner, Comcast, Avon Products, Harley-Davidson, and MasterCard, all of which are due to report earnings before the markets open this morning.

In Europe, the manufacturing sector continues to contract. July's eurozone PMI came in at 44, the lowest level for 37 months and below estimates. The U.K. PMI was also poor, falling to 45.4 from 48.4 last month. Despite this, the major European markets remained fairly steady this morning as traders hold fire and wait for today's Fed statement and tomorrow's crucial European Central Bank announcement.

At 7 a.m. EDT, Germany's DAX was down just 0.1%, France's CAC was up by 0.4%, Spain's IBEX was down by 2%, and Italy's FTSE MIB was 0.7% lower. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was up 0.8%, with clothing retailer Next and global bank Standard Chartered topping the leaderboard after both released strong updates this morning.

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