Dow May Open Higher on Earnings Hopes


LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open up by a nominal three points this morning, while the S&P 500 may open up by 1.6 points.

Today's calendar is packed with major corporate earnings and key economic data. Kicking off the economic reports at 8:30 a.m. EST are the latest initial jobless claims, with consensus forecasts suggesting 368,000 new claims, down slightly from 371,000 the previous week. Also due at 8:30 a.m. EST are December's housing starts, which are expected to have risen to 883,000 from 861,000 in November. Finally, at 10 a.m. EST, the Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey for January is due, with an expected reading of five, down from 8.1 in December.

Companies due to report earnings today include Bank of America, BlackRock, Intel, Capital One, and Citigroup. Early reports came from Huntington Bancshares, UnitedHealth Group and Fifth Third Bancorp, all of which reported earnings in-line with or better than expectations.

Boeing stock was nearly 3% lower in premarket trading and is likely to be actively traded today after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the U.S. 787 fleet. The decision was also adopted by the European Aviation Safety Agency and Japan's Transport Ministry. It is the first time the FAA has chosen to ground an airplane model since 1979 and means that the vast majority of the world's 787 fleet is now grounded.

European markets
European markets were little changed this morning, with no major news from the eurozone region. However, there was some encouragement for traders after yields fell at Spain's latest bond auction. Portugal also announced that it intends to return to the bond markets sooner than expected and is planning an auction of five-year bonds later this month.

At 7:15 a.m. EST, the DAX was flat, the CAC 40 was up 0.9%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.9%, and the IBEX 35 was up 0.5%. In London, the FTSE 100 was up by a nominal nine points after recovering early losses caused when mining giant Rio Tinto announced a $14 billion noncash impairment charge and the immediate departure of CEO Tom Albanese this morning. Rio shares fell nearly 4% initially but rebounded strongly and were down just 1.7% by midday in London.

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Roland Head owns shares in Rio Tinto but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Huntington Bancshares Incorpora, Intel, Fifth Third Bancorp, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of BlackRock, Intel, and UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing puts on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in UnitedHealth Group. 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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