LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average
In a lean day for company earnings and economic data, only the April trade deficit and wholesale inventory figures are of interest. The trade deficit is expected to have narrowed from $51.8 billion in March to $49.5 billion in April, while forecasts suggest that inventories may have risen slightly. Once more, the main economic news of the day comes from Europe, where there is a growing sense that decision time is approaching.
Yesterday, rating agency Fitch downgraded Spain's credit rating by three notches to "BBB," saying it believes the cost of recapitalizing Spain's banks will be 60 billion to 100 billion euros. This morning, Reuters reported that four EU officials have confirmed that EU finance ministers will hold a teleconference on Saturday to discuss a Spanish request for banking aid. The proposals are understood only to include Spain's banks, not its government debt. Reuters says that an announcement from the EU is expected on Saturday afternoon (European time).
In other European news, there is growing evidence that the eurozone crisis is affecting Germany. German imports fell by 4.8% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, with exports falling by 1.7%. Also in April, France's budget deficit contracted slightly, but its trade deficit expanded, while in Italy, industrial output fell by 1.9%. In London trading this morning, the price of a barrel of Brent Crude oil fell to $98, triggering speculation that OPEC members could decide to scale back production at their next meeting on June 14.
In company news, FTSE 100
U.S. stocks that could rise in trading today include health insurers Centene
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