Is the Dow Working for the Weekend?

Going into today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) seems to have finally shaken off the gloomy news from Europe. Despite what has been a miserable May, the blue chips have gained 160 points this week, moving higher every day except Tuesday.

Overseas markets were mixed overnight with no major movements, as are futures on the major American exchanges. Signs in China pointed to a continuing slowdown after a disappointing manufacturing report earlier this week, while worries about Greece's euro exit seem to be absorbed as investors await elections there in three weeks.

One economic report is due out today: the final Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, to be released at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The report is based on a survey of 5,000 households, and it rates consumers' opinions of current economic conditions and expectations for the future, which can serve as a leading indicator. The market expects a figure of 77.5 following last month's 77.8. Changes of less than five points are generally considered insignificant.

We'll also find out today whether Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) post-earnings jump was for real. The PC maker gained 3.3% yesterday after beating earnings estimates, raising guidance, and providing details on a plan to lay off 27,000 employees. Shares had opened more than 7% higher yesterday, so we could see the stock give back more of those gains today.

A report in The Wall Street Journal revealed that JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM  ) risky bets may have been more widespread than previously thought. The bank has been investing in distressed companies such as LightSquared, a wireless broadband provider that filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. JPMorgan held a $150 million stake in the company.

Finally, expect trading volume to be lower than normal today as we head into the three-day weekend.

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Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman holds no positions in the companies in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. 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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