Early Drop Forecast for Dow and S&P

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) may open slightly lower this morning, according to futures markets as of 7 a.m. EDT.

Despite the U.S. economy showing evidence of modest growth, fears over a wider global slowdown are continuing to haunt investors. Overnight, new figures showed that Japan's economy grew by 0.3% in the second quarter, giving an annualized rate of 1.4% -- much lower than the 2.3% that had been forecast.

With no major economic data due out in the U.S. today, markets will be focused on foreign data such as Japan's, as well as any outstanding company results. Groupon is expected to report Q2 figures after markets close tonight, and investors seem to be expecting something special; the firm's share price leapt 12% on Friday. Q4 figures from Sysco are expected before the bell today, with analysts forecasting earnings of $0.54 per share on revenue of $11 billion.

European update
In Europe, it is business as usual. German politicians spent the weekend talking tough about Greece's need to adhere to its bailout conditions if it wants to receive its next round of funding. New figures this morning showed that Greek GDP shrank by 6.2% in Q2 compared with the same time last year, confirming that the country is still deep in recession.

Also this morning, Germany auctioned another 3.77 billion euros of six-month bonds at a yield of -0.05% -- still lower than the previous yield of -0.034%. Demand for safe-haven debt is sky-high. Meanwhile, potential bailout candidate Italy had to offer a yield of 2.767% when it sold 8 billion euros of one-year debt at another auction this morning.

European markets were fairly flat this morning, trading on fairly low volumes. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.2%, the CAC was 0.3% higher, the FTSE MIB was up 0.8%, and Spain's IBEX was up by 0.7%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) rose 0.1% to remain virtually unchanged, with a 1.5% gain for market leader Standard Chartered balancing out the 5.5% fall of oil field services firm Petrofac, which proved the morning's biggest loser despite delivering on-target half-year results.

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Roland Head owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Standard Chartered. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of SYSCO. 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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