Markets Expected to Open Higher


LONDON -- Markets look likely to post opening gains this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.33% opening rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and a 0.41% gain for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) .

With no major economic data scheduled for release today, all eyes will be on the latest corporate earnings. Among the first results were Q3 figures from SunTrust Banks (NYS: STI) and Hasbro (NAS: HAS) . Hasbro reported adjusted earnings of $1.24 per share, down from $1.27 for the same period last year but ahead of analyst estimates of $1.20 per share. However, Hasbro's $1.35 billion revenue was below the $1.38 billion forecast by analysts. SunTrust Banks reported earnings of $1.98, up from just $0.39 for the same period last year. The bank's earnings were distorted by a $1.9 billion pre-tax profit from the sale of its stake in Coca-Cola, which it had held since Coke's IPO in 1919.

Today's biggest earnings announcement may come from Caterpillar, which is due to report Q3 results and issue updated Q4 and full-year guidance later this morning. A Reuters forecast found that analysts expect Caterpillar to announce revenue of $16.8 billion and earnings per share of $2.22.

Other big names due to report today include Yahoo!, Texas Instruments, and Freeport-McMoRan.

European markets
Japanese exports fell by 10.3% last month, according to figures published overnight. The news made little impression on European markets, which opened broadly unchanged and remained calm through the morning. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.02%, the CAC was up 0.34%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.9%, and the IBEX was up 0.23%. In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that strong local election results in his native Galicia region of Spain renewed his austerity mandate after his party extended its majority in the regional assembly.

In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was up by 0.14%. Temporary-power specialist Aggreko continued last Friday's slide after four brokers cut their target prices for the shares and HSBC went one step further, downgrading it to "underweight." BP shares also fell after the oil supermajor confirmed that it is in negotiations with Rosneft to sell its stake in TNK-BP for a reported $28 billion.

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Roland Head has no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Hasbro. 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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