Dow May Open Flat Ahead of Fed Statement

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open up by a nominal eight points this morning, while the S&P 500 may open 1.5 points higher. CNN's Fear & Greed Index rose to 61 on Tuesday, firmly in "greed" territory, as the S&P registered a new record closing high and the Nasdaq finished at its highest level for 12 years.

In Europe, most markets are closed for a public holiday today, but the FTSE 100 is 0.64% higher. The U.K.'s monthly manufacturing PMI rose to 49.8 in April from 48.6 in March, showing that the rate of contraction is slowing, but in China, the official manufacturing PMI showed an unexpected slowdown in April, dropping to 50.6 from 50.9 in March.

In the U.S., today sees the first of three sets of job data due this week. Today's ADP private-sector employment report is due at 8:15 a.m. EDT and is expected to show that 150,000 private-sector jobs were created in April, down from 158,000 in March. At 10 a.m. EDT, look out for April's ISM manufacturing survey and March's construction-spending report, while at 2 p.m. EDT, the Federal Reserve is due to issue its monthly statement, which will be closely watched for clues as to the FOMC's future policy direction.

As earnings season continues, one of the first big names of the day was Time Warner, which reported a 22% year-over-year increase in adjusted earnings per share to $0.82, beating analysts' expectations of $0.75 per share. Humana reported a 98% rise in its first-quarter EPS to $2.95. Meanwhile, Coventry Health Care reported a 5% fall in revenue and a 17% drop in first-quarter earnings from $1.20 per share in Q1 2012 to $1 in Q1 2013. Merck is also due to report before the open, as are Comcast, Mastercard, Devon Energy, Rowan, Allstate, CVS, and Viacom, among others.

Facebook stock may be actively traded today, as the social-media giant is due to report its first-quarter earnings after the closing bell. A JPMorgan forecast suggests earnings of $0.12 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion, driven by growth in mobile revenue. DreamWorks was 7.4% higher in premarket trading after issuing strong results after the close last night.

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 of 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 DreamWorks Animation, Facebook, and MasterCard. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, and MasterCard. 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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