Lower Start for Dow Ahead of Earnings

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open down by 0.12% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open 0.1% lower. However, the CNN Fear & Greed Index rose to a recent high of 83 on Friday, signifying "extreme greed" and suggesting that investors' underlying bullish sentiment remains strong.

With no new economic data due today, attention is likely to turn to corporate news and the first major earning reports of 2013. Last quarter's earnings were average, at best, and investors will be hoping for stronger results to help lift confidence and build momentum in the market when major companies start to report later this week.

Although earnings season bellwether Alcoa won't release its results until after markets close on Tuesday, several companies may see their stock actively traded today, especially those in the tech sector. NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) may be in demand after unveiling its latest Tegra 4 mobile processor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, together with a new handheld games console. Intel is expected to unveil its latest mobile chips at 4 p.m. EST today, and Qualcomm is also expected to announce new products today.

Yahoo! shares may also slip following a broker downgrade, but banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America are likely to edge higher after central-bank chiefs agreed over the weekend to delay and relax new bank liquidity rules. Both banks were higher in pre-market trading.

European markets
Europe's main markets edged lower this morning after strong gains last week. Banking stocks rose after the Basel group of banking regulators agreed to dilute and delay new liquidity rules, which are intended to enable banks to withstand a temporary crunch on the credit markets or a run of withdrawals.

At 8 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.5%, the CAC 40 was down 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was down 0.35%, and the IBEX 35 was down 0.15%. In London, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) was down 0.41% despite a 3.6% gain for Barclays and a 1.3% rise for Lloyds Banking Group. Utilities and miners slipped to the bottom of the leaderboard as investors shifted money into financial stocks.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett rarely invests outside the U.S., but he did recently invest $1 billion in an FTSE 100 blue-chip brand, expanding his stake in the company to more than 5%. The business concerned is a famous British name with global expansion potential -- and you can discover the identity of the company and the price he paid in this special exclusive report. Best of all, the report is free, so download it today while it's still available.

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