Dow and S&P Expected to Open Lower

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

The week's big event is tomorrow, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at Jackson Hole, Wyo. However, a batch of economic data is due today that could provide valuable indications of stability in the U.S. economy following yesterday's GDP upgrade. First up, at 8:30 a.m. EDT, are this week's initial jobless claims, which are expected to drop by 2,000 to 370,000. Also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT are July's consumer spending and personal-income figures, both of which are expected to show modest increases on June's results.

Today is likely to be another slow day in the markets, but companies whose shares may be actively traded include TiVo and Pandora, both of which reported better-than-expected results after the close tonight. Shares of both companies were up by around 10% in after-hours trading yesterday.

Also of interest may be the same-store sale figures due from several major retailers this morning. Those due to report include Macy's, Target, Gap, and Costco.

European markets
Europe remains in focus for investors on both sides of the Atlantic, with all eyes on the European Central Bank, which is expected to announce further bond-buying measures after its meeting next week. In a sign of market confidence that the ECB will act, Italy was able to sell 4 billion euros of 10-year bonds at auction this morning for an average yield of 5.82% -- the lowest level since March.

At a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing today, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao confirmed that China would continue to buy European sovereign debt, suggesting that it believes the eurozone crisis can be resolved.

European markets were broadly lower this morning as global growth concerns continued to weaken sentiment. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down by 0.9%, the CAC was down by 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was down by 0.7%, and the IBEX was down by 1%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was 0.2% lower, with big miners experiencing another day of sell-offs while the risers were led by supermarket chain Wm. Morrison Supermarkets, which was up by a modest 1.5% at the end of the morning session.

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