Despite Gains in Small-Business Optimism, Dow Futures Plunge as Stimulus Fears Return

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open down by 0.76% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open 0.91% lower. CNN's Fear & Greed Index has slipped back to 39, or "fear," after rising into "neutral" territory for a brief period yesterday.

European markets slid lower this morning, echoing the overnight moves of Asian stock markets, which closed lower after the Bank of Japan failed to announce any additional monetary-stimulus measures. The BoJ's official statement said that "Japan's economy has been picking up," but investors were disappointed, and Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down by 1.45% earlier today. At 7:45 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX were both down by 1.6%. In Germany today, a court case began to determine the legality of the European Central Bank's bond-buying program, which has yet to be used but whose existence is credited with helping to stabilize markets last year.

In U.S. economic news, May's NFIB small-business optimism index was released this morning, rising to 94.4 in May from 92.1 in April and beating estimates of 93. Due at 10 a.m. EDT are April's wholesale inventories, which are expected to have risen by 0.2% compared to 0.4% the previous month, and April's Job Openings and Labor Turnover report.

Today's corporate-earnings calendar is pretty thin, but several companies have released news last night or this morning that may draw investors' attention. Lululemon Athletica reported first-quarter profit of $47.3 million after the close last night, up from $46.6 million one year ago. However CEO Christine Day announced that she will be leaving the firm when a successor has been appointed, sending its stock plummeting by 13.6% in premarket trading this morning.

Boeing stock may be actively traded after the firm published its latest 20-year forecast for the commercial airliner market. Boeing said it expected demand to be 3.8% higher than previously forecast, resulting in 35,280 new airliners being sold over the next 20 years, up from its previous forecast of 34,000. Boeing shares are down 0.7% in premarket trading following the publication of the report. Apple may also be in focus after the firm launched its new iPhone software yesterday. The California company's shares are up 0.3% in early trading.

Finally, let's not forget that the Dow's daily movements can add up to some 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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