Dow Jones May Open Lower After Testing 14,000

LONDON -- The Dow broke through the 14,000 barrier for the first time since 2007 on Friday, but it subsequently retreated and looks likely to open slightly lower this morning. Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 may open 0.2% lower.

The highlight of today's economic calendar is likely to be December's factory orders data, which is due at 10 a.m. EST. Consensus forecasts suggest that factory orders rose by 2.3% in December after remaining flat the previous month.

On the corporate front, earnings season continues, with a number of big names due to update the markets today. Health insurer Humana started the ball rolling early, reporting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.19 per share, down slightly from $1.20 per share for the same period one year earlier but ahead of analysts' expectations for Q4 2012. The company said it maintained its 2013 guidance for earnings of between $7.60 and $7.80 per share.

Other companies expected to report earnings before the opening bell this morning include mall owner Simon Property Group, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Sysco. Those due to report after markets close tonight include oil and gas company Anadarko Petroleum, fast good company Yum Brands, pharmaceutical firm Gilead, and Hartford Financial Services Group.

Boeing stock could also be actively traded following reports that customer Japan Airlines will raise the issue of compensation for the grounding of its 787 fleet.

European markets
Markets edged lower in European trade this morning, led by renewed fears that stability in the eurozone could be threatened by political turmoil in Italy, where a general election is approaching, and Spain, where Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other members of his party have been accused of receiving undeclared income over a period of years. The yield on Spanish 10-year government bonds has risen by 0.2% to 5.2% so far this morning, while the yield on Italy's 10-year bonds has risen by 0.1% to 4.4%.

At 7:15 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.62%, the CAC 40 was down 1%, the FTSE MIB was down 2.5%, and the IBEX 35 was down 1.85%. In London, the FTSE 100 was down by 0.66%. Among the biggest fallers in London was oil and gas exploration and production company BG Group, which was down by 2.1% at the end of the morning's trading. Heading the other way was gold miner Randgold Resources, which gained 5% after publishing a strong set of full-year results.

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Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sysco and Gilead Sciences. 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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