Dow May Open Higher as Costco Beats the Street


LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average may open up by 0.33% this morning, while the S&P 500 may open 0.38% higher. CNN's Fear & Greed Index has fallen from yesterday's close of 77 to 70, signifying "greed."

European markets failed to react to the overnight slump in Asia, where Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down by 5.2% earlier this morning. At 7 a.m. EDT, all the major European stock markets were up on the day, possibly helped by the latest eurozone economic sentiment index survey, which rose to 89.4 in May from 88.6 in April.

U.S. markets may be strongly influenced by today's economic reports. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the latest weekly jobless-claims figures are due: Consensus forecasts suggest that 341,000 new claims were made last week, up marginally from 340,000 the previous week. Also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, revised first-quarter GDP figures are expected to show no change to the previously reported rise of 2.5%. Finally, at 10 a.m. EDT, April's pending-home-sales index will provide an update on activity levels in the housing market.

In corporate news, Costco Wholesale beat analysts' estimates this morning after reporting third-quarter profit of $1.04 per share, a 19% increase on the same period last year and ahead of analysts' average forecasts of $1.02 per share. Costco reported a 5% increase in revenue from stores open at least a year, and total revenue rose by 8% to $24.08 billion, almost equaling analysts' forecasts of $24.09 billion. Big Lots reported first-quarter earnings of $0.56 per share, down from $0.63 per share for the same period last year. Other companies due to report earnings today include Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Guess.

Alcoa stock is also likely to be actively traded today after Moody's downgraded the aluminum producer's debt to junk status. This is likely to raise the cost of borrowing for Alcoa at the same time the firm is battling low metals prices. Meanwhile, shares in Nevada-based utility firm NV Energy are likely to surge after MidAmerican Energy Holdings, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, announced that it would buy all of NV Energy's outstanding shares for $23.75 per share in cash.

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 Berkshire Hathaway, Costco Wholesale, and Guess. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Big Lots, Costco Wholesale, and Guess. 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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