Markets Expected to Open Lower

LONDON -- According to futures markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are both expected to open lower this morning, ending a three-day rally.

At home, it's a relatively quiet day for earnings and economic data, but highlights to watch out for are the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage applications survey at 7 a.m. EDT; second-quarter productivity and labor costs, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT; and the weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration petroleum status report, due at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Earnings season is tailing off, but Macy's and Computer Sciences are both due to release quarterly figures before markets open this morning. is likely to fall when markets open after issuing a disappointing third-quarter forecast after the bell last night. Priceline shares fell by 15% in German trading this morning, where shares in Walt Disney and Expedia also fell.

In Europe, the latest economic data dampened markets' enthusiasm this morning, leaving most major indexes lower in early trading. New data showed that German exports fell by 1.5% in June from May, while Spain's industrial output fell by 6.3% on a yearly basis in June. The Bank of England published its quarterly inflation report this morning, with Governor Mervyn King telling the press conference that inflation is expected to be slightly below target and that he does not believe Britain's recession is as severe as official figures make out, claiming that the U.K.'s economy has been "broadly flat" for the last two years.

At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.4%, the CAC was 0.7% lower, Italy's FTSE MIB was down 0.4%, and Spain's IBEX fell nearly 2% as Spanish 10-year bond yields crept closer to the dangerous 7% level once more, rising to 6.95%.

In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down 0.5%, with some support being provided by a 9% surge in the share price of Standard Chartered following yesterday's 16% fall. Also on the move in London was Rio Tinto -- up more than 2% after releasing its half-year results and announcing a dividend increase -- and technology firm Smiths Group, which was down a little more than 3%.

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