Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) are pointing to a slightly higher open this morning. The moves come ahead of a key announcement from the Federal Reserve this afternoon and follow a number of disappointing manufacturing reports from overseas. Manufacturing readings for the eurozone suggested activity was its lowest in more than three years, while a similar report out of China missed expectations.
In light of additional signs of global economic weakness, the must-watch event today comes at 2:15 p.m. EDT, when the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee announces its policy decision following a two-day meeting. With domestic labor conditions showing no signs of improvement and economic growth slowing to a 1.5% annual rate in last week's GDP report, the key issue at hand is whether the Fed will implement any new stimulus measures to help spur growth. However, the Fed might be running out of options as interest rates sit near record lows following trillions of dollars of spending in previous rounds of quantitative easing.
Reporting earnings today are two of the worst-performing stocks of the past year, First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) . When you're an underperformer relative to the mobile malaise of Research In Motion and Nokia, something must be going wrong -- very wrong.
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For First Solar, shares have been rocked by increased competition from China, which has caused its gross margin to contract from more than 45% to 15% in the past year. In Green Mountain's case, the company's looming patent expiration, slowing growth, and high-profile critics have all weighed on the stock over the past year. Investors have also taken issue with the impending release of a competitive single-serve coffee maker from Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) , whose Verismo machine will be available in stores this fall.
Despite the horrible performance of these stocks, there could be opportunity for investors amid the current chaos. To help investors better understand the story behind each stock, we're offering two brand new premium research reports on Green Mountain Coffee and First Solar. These reports were written with the individual investor in mind, and they go through all of the key opportunities and threats facing both companies. To learn more, be sure to click on the links below now.