Markets May Open Higher Post-Sandy

LONDON -- Stock markets will reopen this morning following Hurricane Sandy after the longest weather-related closure since 1888. As of 8:30 a.m. EDT, stock-index futures were suggesting opening gains from Friday's close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) expected to open up 0.4%, the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) expecting a 0.4% rise, and the Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) ready to be welcomed back with a nominal 0.1% gain.

High volumes of trading and market volatility are expected as traders seek to satisfy pent-up demand and balance positions on the last day of the month. It's also the last trading session of the financial year for many mutual funds, so additional trading is likely as fund managers seek to adjust their closing positions. The fear of additional volatility is reflected in the CNN Fear & Greed Index, which has dropped to 36 (fear), down from 56 (greed) one week ago.

U.S. Corporate earnings
The market closure prompted companies including Pfizer to postpone their earnings releases. But others, such as Ford and Johnson Controls, reported anyway, so their stocks could see heavy trading in this first session. Eaton reported earnings and revenue slightly below expectations this morning, while MasterCard is also expected to report before the market opens. Visa, Hertz, and MetLife are all expected to report after the closing bell.

Analysts expect a surge in demand for home improvement stocks such as Home Depot, which should prosper as homeowners seek to repair and redecorate their homes after the damage caused by Sandy. Ford, Home Depot, and Advanced Micro Devices were all more than 2% higher in premarket trading. Insurance stocks such as AIG and Allstate could also see heavy trading and may fall, as investors fear big underwriting losses for the year ahead.

European markets
European markets remained calm during Hurricane Sandy, and most major markets have continued to make modest gains this morning. This morning's news that the eurozone unemployment rate has reached a new record of 11.6% failed to dent trader's spirits and at 8:40 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.47%, the CAC was up 0.1%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.8%, and the IBEX was up 0.64%.

Going against the trend was the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) , which was down by 0.24% at 8:40 a.m. EDT as two heavyweight members of the index -- Barclays and BG Group (ISE: BG.L) -- underwent major sell-offs following disappointing trading updates. BG Group updated its guidance to suggest that production output will be flat in 2013, sending its stock down by 16%, while Barclays fell 4% after revealing two new U.S. probes into "legal and regulatory matters."

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is not an investor in BG Group or Barclays, but he did recently invest $1 billion in an FTSE 100 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 May Open Higher Post-Sandy originally appeared on

Roland Head has no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor, Hertz Global Holdings, and MasterCard. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on American International Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Visa, The Home Depot, American International Group, and Ford Motor. 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.