Dow May Retreat After Yesterday's Gains


LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may lose 0.2% on opening this morning, while the S&P 500 may open 0.3% lower. However, the CNN Fear & Greed Index remains bullish and closed up strongly at 80 yesterday, placing investor sentiment into the "Extreme Greed" category.

Today's trading is likely to be more sedate than yesterday's frenzied rise as investors focus on employment data and remember the reality of the fiscal-cliff deal -- that complex spending cuts and an increase to the debt ceiling have not yet been agreed upon. Today's economic calendar starts at 7:30 a.m. EST with the Challenger Gray job-cut report, followed at 8:15 a.m. EST by the latest ADP employment survey, which is expected to show that 149,000 new jobs were added in December, up from 118,000 in November. At 8:30 a.m. EST, the weekly jobless-claims report is due, with analysts expecting a slight increase in new claims to 360,000, up from 350,000 the previous week. Also on the schedule for today are December's motor vehicle sales figures, which are expected to total 15.4 million on an annualized basis, down from 15.5 million in November.

Looking at corporate earnings, Family Dollar Stores is due to report first-quarter earnings before markets open, as is UniFirst. Costco Wholesale could also be actively traded after beating expectations with a 9% rise in like-for-like December sales, although an additional business day during the reporting period effectively negates some of this increase. Advanced Micro Devices could fall after it was downgraded by broker Barclays this morning, while Mellanox Technologies fell heavily in premarket trading after it downgraded its sales forecast.

European markets
In Europe, markets traded broadly flat following yesterday's strong surge. News that the China nonmanufacturing purchasing managers' index had risen from 55.6 to 56.1 in December helped provide some support. Also positive were the report on German unemployment, which rose by 3,000 in December versus an expected increase of 10,000, and a surprisingly strong seasonal fall in Spanish unemployment, which dropped 59,000 to 4.8 million in December.

At 7 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.34%, the CAC 40 was down 0.53%, the FTSE MIB was down 0.43%, and the IBEX 35 was down 1.06%. In London, the FTSE 100 is broadly unchanged as of 7:20 a.m. EST, down a fraction of a point. The top performer of the morning in the U.K.'s leading index was clothing retailer Next, which rose by 2.15% after a strong trading update indicated that its full-year results should be at the top end of guidance.

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Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Costco Wholesale. 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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