Dow to Open Higher Ahead of Fed Statement

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open 0.24% higher this morning, while the S&P 500 may open up by 0.31%.

European markets rose this morning as investors shelved the continued uncertainty over the bailout of Cyprus and bought back into stocks that have fallen in price over the last few days, betting that eurozone finance officials and Cyprus' Russian creditors will eventually find a solution that will prevent the tiny nation's banking system from collapsing.

In the U.K., the FTSE 100 was slightly higher ahead of the budget announcement, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EDT, when Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce further cuts to tax and spending in an attempt to kick-start growth. The publication of the minutes of the latest Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting revealed that once again, the committee voted 6-3 against expanding the current quantitative-easing program, with outgoing governor Mervyn King one of those in favor of printing more money.

In the U.S., the highlight of today's macroeconomic data will be the Federal Open Market Committee announcement at 2 p.m. EDT, after the conclusion of the committee's monthly two-day meeting. This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. EDT by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, which will be closely watched for any clues that the Fed's current bond-buying program may be scaled back. Other data due today includes this week's EIA petroleum report and the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly mortgage-market index.

In corporate news, General Mills is expected to report third-quarter earnings of $0.57 per share on revenue of $4.36 billion, while FedEx is expected to report third-quarter earnings of $1.39 on sales of $10.85 billion after earning $1.55 per share during the same quarter last year. Both companies are expected to report before the opening bell this morning, while software firm Oracle will report its third-quarter earnings after markets close today. Analysts are expecting Oracle to have earned $0.66 per share on sales of $9.38 billion, up slightly from $0.62 and $9.04 billion, respectively, for the same period last year.

Adobe Systems' stockmay be actively traded when markets open after the software firm beat expectations with its first-quarter figures last night, revealing adjusted earnings of $0.35 per share on revenue of $1.01 billion versus analyst forecasts for earnings of $0.31 on sales of $985 million.

Finally, let's not forget that the Dow's daily movements can add up to serious long-term gains. Indeed, Warren Buffett recently wrote, "The Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and many recessions." If you, like Buffett, are convinced about the long-term power of the Dow, you should read "5 Stocks To Retire On." Your long-term wealth could be transformed, even in this uncertain economy. Simply click here now to download this free, no-obligation report.

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Roland Head has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems and FedEx. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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