Early Gains Expected as Dow Eyes New Record

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open up by 0.21% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open 0.12% higher after closing at a new record of 1,617.51 yesterday.

European markets moved higher this morning as London markets reopened after yesterday's public holiday. In Germany, the DAX reached a new all-time record high early in the session and was trading at 8,5 points at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Traders were given a boost by news that German factory orders rose by 2.2% in March, beating expectations for a 0.9% increase. In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.39% higher. The index's second-largest company, HSBC Holdings, gained almost 3% after reporting a 34% increase in quarterly profit. Security outsourcing firm G4S moved the other way, sliding 14% during the morning session after warning of margin pressures for the year ahead. The FTSE was also lifted by strong gains for mining shares, which were helped by the latest figures from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which showed a 28% rise in net long positions on a basket of 18 key commodities.

Today's U.S. economic reports will include the Bureau of Labor Statistics' March job openings and labor turnover report at 10 a.m. ET. Following this, March consumer credit figures at 3 p.m. EDT are expected to show a fall to $16 billion from $18 billion last month.

DIRECTV, Molson Coors, Marathon Oil, FirstEnergy, Symantec, and DaVita are all among those due to report earnings before the opening bell this morning. Also reporting early was Emerson Electric, which announced earnings of $0.77 on revenue of $6 billion for its second fiscal quarter, up by 4% and 2%, respectively, from the previous year. At International Flavors & Fragrances, earnings before interest and tax jumped by 14% to $138 million compared with the same period last year, while adjusted earnings rose by 19% to $1.19.

Other companies whose stock may be actively traded today include Walt Disney and Electronic Arts. The two companies have revealed that they will collaborate on future Star Wars games, and both are also due to report quarterly earnings later today. Also due to report later is Kraft Foods spin-off Mondelez International, which is expected to report at 4 p.m. EDT.

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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