LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) may open up by 0.94% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) may open 1.09% higher. CNN's Fear & Greed Index has now returned to neutral territory and is set to open today at 52, up from last night's close of 44.
Yesterday's Federal Open Market Committee minutes may have left investors unsure of the Fed's intentions, but Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered the goods in a speech last night, saying that "highly accommodative monetary policy" would be needed for the foreseeable future. Asian and European markets responded enthusiastically, surging higher when they opened after Bernanke's speech. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 3.2%, its biggest one-day gain of the year. And in Europe, the FTSE 100 is up 0.69%, the DAX is up 1.25% and France's CAC 40 is 1% higher as of 7:50 a.m. EDT. Mining shares are among the biggest risers -- gold miner Randgold Resources is up by 5.5%.
U.S. indexes are expected to follow European markets higher today, but investors will be keeping a close eye on this week's jobless-claims figures, which are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are expected to have edged higher last week to 349,000 from 343,000 the previous week. Also of interest will be June's import price index, also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and expected to show that import prices remained unchanged last month after falling by 0.6% in May. Finally, June's Federal budget details are due at 2 p.m. EDT.
Today's earning calendar is fairly quiet ahead of tomorrow's results from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, but Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ: CBSH ) started off the financial reporting season this morning, reporting earnings of $0.72 per share -- a penny ahead of analyst expectations. The company credited "strong growth in loans, improved net interest income and continued free income growth," as well as "growth in revenues from our trust and corporate card businesses, which grew by 8% and 8.6%, respectively, compared to the second quarter of last year."
Other stocks that may be actively traded today include Yum! Brands, which edged higher in after-hours trading last night after the company -- which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell -- reported a 10% fall in like-for-like sales in China during June, showing an improvement on May's 19% decline. Yum said that earnings per share fell to $0.61 during the second quarter, down from $0.69 for the same period one year ago.
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.