Dow Jones May Open Higher as Apple Drags on S&P 500


LONDON -- Stock index futures as of 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open up by a nominal six points this morning, while the S&P 500 may open three points lower as Apple's disappointing results threaten to hold back the index from new highs. Bullish sentiment edged even higher yesterday: The CNN Fear & Greed Index closed at 92 last night, well into "extreme greed" territory.

The economic calendar is busier today that it has been all week, with several key data releases expected this morning. First up, at 8:30 a.m. EST, are the latest jobless-claim figures. Initial weekly jobless claims are expected to have risen to 360,000, up from 335,000 the previous week. At 9 a.m. EST, the Market PMI for January is due; consensus forecasts suggest a drop to 53, down from 54 in December. Finally, at 10 a.m. EST, December's leading indicators are expected to show a gain of 0.4%, up from -0.2% in November.

Corporate earnings
stock is likely to be actively traded this morning after the company reported its most recent quarterly earnings after the closing bell last night. Despite reporting 18% revenue growth, Apple missed its revenue estimates and reported flat quarterly profits of $13.1 billion, suggesting that its profit margins are being squeezed. Although Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones over the Christmas period, this was below consensus forecasts for sales of 50 million units. Apple stock was down more than 9% in premarket trading this morning, and if this drop holds when markets open, nearly $45 billion could be wiped off the company's market value.

It's not all about Apple, however. A number of other big names are due to report quarterly earnings today, including 3M, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Raytheon, and AT&T. Starbucks, Xerox, and Union Pacific are also expected to report, while Netflix stock may soar after rising 37% in premarket trading following its earnings release last night.

European markets
European markets were little changed this morning, with Apple's bad news weighing slightly on sentiment, especially in the tech sector. At 8 a.m. EST, the DAX, the CAC 40, the FTSE MIB, and the IBEX 35 were all changed less than a tenth of a percent. In London, the FTSE 100 was up by 0.36%, pulled higher by a 3% rise for chemicals business Croda International. Cement giant CRH was also a strong performer, up by 2.9%, while mobile-phone group Vodafone was up 2.8%

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett rarely invests outside the U.S., 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.

The article Dow Jones May Open Higher as Apple Drags on S&P 500 originally appeared on

Roland Head owns shares in Vodafone but does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Netflix, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks, Apple, 3M, Netflix, and Vodafone Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in 3M. 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 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.