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 at 7 a.m. EDT. A downbeat assessment of global growth prospects from the International Monetary Fund has depressed markets today, especially in Europe.
September's NFIB Small Business Index was released at 7 a.m. EDT. Despite expectations for a rise from 92.9 to 93.5, the small-business optimism index slid to 92.8. Also due are the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly chain-store sales index and the Johnson Redbook weekly retail sales index.
In company news, earnings season gets under way today, with the first of the big hitters, aluminum giant Alcoa, due to report after the bell tonight. Yum! Brands is also due to report later today.
In Europe, most major markets fell this morning following the publication of the International Monetary Fund's latest report. The IMF said the downside risks to the world's economy were worse than in April 2012 or September 2011 and predicted 3.3% global growth this year, down from 3.5% in July. The IMF also cut its 2013 global growth forecast from 3.9% to 3.6% and said that it expects the eurozone economy to expand by 0.2% in 2013, down from 0.7% in July.
In Greece, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making her first visit to Athens since 2007 today, signaling her support for Greece staying within the eurozone. However, the trip is not expected to give rise to any decisive announcements, and concerns over the need for a second writedown on Greek government debt remain.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.5%, the CAC was up 0.1%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.3%, and the IBEX was down 0.9%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down 0.3%. Miners including Rio Tinto and Anglo American were leading the gainers and preventing the index from falling further, buoyed by reports that China's central bank had injected another round of stimulus cash into the country's money markets.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is not a Rio Tinto shareholder, but he did recently invest $1 billion in a well-known British blue-chip brand, expanding his stake in the company to more than 5%. The business concerned is 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.
Are you looking to profit from this uncertain economy? "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" is The Motley Fool's latest report. We urge you to read it today -- your wealth could be transformed. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy. The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better.
Further investment opportunities:
The article Markets Likely to Drop on Growth Fears originally appeared on Fool.com.
Roland Head owns shares in Rio Tinto but has no shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. 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.
Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.