Economic Data May Lift Dow & S&P


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

Today's domestic news flow will start with the latest weekly jobless claim figures at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with a small increase expected after last week's surprise fall. July housing starts are also due at the same time and are expected to show that the number of starts fell from 760,000 in June to 756,000 in July. Also due are July's building-permit figures and, at 10 a.m. EDT, the Philly Fed manufacturing survey for August.

Stocks that may be actively traded today include Facebook (NAS: FB) . A further 200 million shares in the social-networking giant are freed for trading today as the first lockup period expires, which may put the company's share price under pressure. Also of interest will be quarterly figures from Wal-Mart, Gap, and Sears, while Cisco shares could also be in demand. The networking company revealed quarterly earnings that were 15% above analysts' expectations after the markets closed last night.

European markets
European markets are having another day of directionless, low-volume trading as investors continue to wait for key events and decisions in September that may shape the future of the eurozone. Eurozone inflation data for June was released this morning, showing that the Consumer Prices Index remained at 2.4% for the third consecutive month. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up just 0.03%, the CAC was down 0.04%, the FTSE MIB was 0.6% higher, and the IBEX was up by 1.1%.

In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down 0.3% at 7 a.m. EDT, with no share price movements greater than about 2% in either direction being recorded in the morning session and volumes low. Lloyds Banking Group topped the leaders table with a 1.96% rise, while insurance company Admiral sat at the bottom, having shed 2.1%.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett doesn't own shares in Lloyds or Admiral, but he did recently purchase another well-known British blue-chip brand, spending more than $1 billion to take his stake in this FTSE 100 company to more than 5%. Buffett bought a famous British name with global expansion potential -- and you can discover the identity of the company and the price he paid in this special exclusive report. Best of all, the report is free, so download it today while it's still available.

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