LONDON -- Stock index futures as of 6:20 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) may open up by 0.52% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) may open 0.63% higher. CNN's Fear & Greed Index has plunged from yesterday's close of 27 down to 18, or "extreme fear."
European markets steadied and rebounded this morning after most major European indexes closed down by more than 3% yesterday. At 7:15 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.88%, the DAX was up 0.15% and the CAC 40 was up 0.79%. Although many Asian markets slipped further, the Nikkei 225 finished 1.66% higher, ending the week up by 4.3%. In London, businesses likely to profit from an economic recovery led the rising market; top performers included drinks giant Diageo and global building-materials business CRH.
There are no economic reports due in the U.S. today, so investors will be left mulling over the potential implications of the Federal Reserve's plan to taper monetary stimulus later this year if the economic data remains strong. A Bloomberg survey of economists, taken after Fed Chairman Bernanke's announcement on Wednesday, found that 44% of those questioned now expect the Fed to start cutting monthly bond purchases in September and end them altogether by June 2014. Today could also see additional volatility as futures and options contracts expire.
Oracle (NYSE: ORCL ) stock is likely to be actively traded when markets open. The firm's stock is down 7.6% in premarket trading after its fourth-quarter sales of $10.95 billion missed analysts' expectations for revenue of $11.12 billion, though the firm met adjusted earnings forecasts of $0.87 per share. Oracle's full-year results hit consensus forecasts for earnings of $2.68 per share, but revenue fell slightly short again, leaving investors concerned by weak sales at the software giant. On a more positive note, Oracle announced that it was doubling its dividend to $0.12 per share.
Today's earnings calendar is very thin, but companies that are scheduled to report quarterly earnings today include CarMax and Darden Restaurants, which reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.01 per share, below analysts' consensus forecasts of $1.04 per share, despite an 11% rise in revenue compared to the same quarter last year.
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