Markets May Rise Sharply on German Ruling

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) are poised to open sharply higher this morning, according to futures markets, after the German Constitutional Court ruled that the European Stability Mechanism was legal.

As expected, the ruling included some conditions, limiting Germany's liability to 190 billion euros and requiring any further changes to be approved by the German Bundestag (parliament). European markets reacted immediately, and U.S. markets are expected to follow, with Dow and S&P futures up by more than 0.5% as of 7 a.m. EDT.

In domestic news, August's import price index and July's wholesale inventories are due to be published this morning, with both expected to show an increase, reversing the previous month's declines. Shares in Apple (NAS: AAPL) could move sharply today. This afternoon, the tech giant is expected to unveil the iPhone 5, which is expected to include 4G functionality and a 4-inch screen. Facebook (NAS: FB) shares could also rise sharply after gaining more than 3% in after-hours trading last night following a speech by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that boosted investors' confidence in Facebook's mobile progress.

Finally, today sees the start of the monthly Federal Open Markets Committee meeting on interest rate policy. No announcement is likely until tomorrow, when markets will be watching closely and hoping for a further round of quantitative easing.

European markets
European markets were quiet this morning before moving decisively upward following the German court ruling that the ESM is legal. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up by 0.8%, the CAC was up by 0.5%, the FTSE MIB was up by 1.1%, and the IBEX was up by 0.8%.

In London, reaction was more muted but still positive, with the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) up by 0.1% at 7 a.m. EDT. The U.K.'s bailed-out banks were the biggest gainers; both Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland were up by more than 3% at the end of the morning session. While most mining shares also made gains, Anglo American fell on reports of disturbances at its South African platinum mines.

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