Dow May Open Higher as S&P 500 Nears 2007 High

LONDON -- After closing at a record high for the last nine days, can the Dow extend the streak to 10? Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open up by 0.12% this morning, while the S&P 500 may open 0.16% higher, bringing it to within 20 points of its October 2007 intraday high of 1,576.09.

Yesterday's five-point closing gain for the Dow Jones may suggest that the bull run is slowing, but today's economic data could provide a further boost if it comes in ahead of expectations. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the latest weekly jobless-claims figures are due, with consensus forecasts suggesting 350,000 new claims from March 3 to March 9, up slightly from 340,000 the previous week. Also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT is February's producer price index, which is expected to show a rise of 0.8%, up from 0.2% in January.

In corporate news, companies expected to report earnings before markets open include AAON, Diana Shipping, Dynegy, and Ebix, while Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Molycorp are expected to report results after the closing bell tonight.

Stocks that may be actively traded include Blackberry after the company reported that it had received a 1 million-unit order for its Blackberry 10 phone from an unnamed partner. Blackberry stock was up 2.6% in premarket trading. Meanwhile, Apple may also be in focus as competitor Samsung launches its latest Galaxy smartphone in New York later today. Finally, E*TRADE may sink after a major shareholder said it planned to sell its entire stake in the company, whose stock was down 4.6% in premarket trading.

European markets
Markets edged higher in Europe this morning as investors welcomed the growing strength of the U.S. recovery and were encouraged by a draft statement from today's EU leaders' summit, which indicated that they may consider extending deficit-reduction deadlines for countries including Spain, Portugal, and France.

At 7:40 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.69%, the CAC 40 was up 0.62%, the FTSE MIB was up 1.36%, and the IBEX 35 was up 1%. In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.33% higher, helped by a 6.2% gain for temporary-power specialist Aggreko, which announced a 122 MW new contract to supply power to Mozambique and Namibia as part of the cross-border Southern Africa Power Pool project. Wm. Morrison Supermarkets was also higher after announcing that it will move into online retailing in 2014 through a joint venture with online-only supermarket Ocado.

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