Markets to Open Higher on Job Hopes

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open higher this morning, according to futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT. The S&P 500 closed at its highest level for four years yesterday after investors reacted favorably to a new European bond-buying plan.

After yesterday's better-than-expected jobs data, hopes will be high that today's nonfarm payroll report will also beat expectations, which are for a 125,000 increase, down from 163,000 in July. The latest unemployment rate will also be published today and is expected to remain unchanged at 8.3%. Unemployment has been at this level for some time, and today's employment data could influence the likelihood of the Fed FOMC voting for a further round of monetary easing at its next meeting.

Companies that may be actively traded today include Coca-Cola. Investor SunTrust Banks is set to sell Coca-Cola shares worth $1.9 billion in an effort to shore up its capital ratios, which could put a dent in the soft-drink giant's share price. Also in the news is gun maker Smith & Wesson, which raised its full-year forecast after the bell last night, citing strong domestic demand and announcing plans to increase production capacity. Kroger is expected to report quarterly figures before markets open this morning, with analysts expecting earnings of $0.49 per share on revenue of $22 billion.

European markets
In Europe, markets remained positive after yesterday's euphoric ascent, but gains were more subdued this morning. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.9%, the CAC was up 1.1%, the FTSE MIB was up 2.2%, and the IBEX was up just 0.3%. However, Spanish 10-year bond yields dropped to 5.75% -- the first time since May that they have traded below the key 6% level.

In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) was up 0.2%. Markets were boosted early on by news of Glencore International's last minute decision to up its bid for miner Xstrata, suggesting that this big merger will now go ahead to create one of the world's biggest commodity firms. Xstrata shares were up by 7.3% at 7 a.m. EDT, but Russian steel producer Evraz trumped that, gaining almost 12% through the morning session.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is not a shareholder of Glencore or Xstrata. However, he did recently invest $1 billion in a well-known British blue-chip brand, expanding his stake in the company to more than 5%. This famous British name has global expansion potential -- and you can discover the identity of the company and the price he paid in this special exclusive report. Best of all, the report is free -- so download it today while it's still available.

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Roland Head has no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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