Housing Data Could Lift Markets

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) are expected to open almost unchanged this morning, according to futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT.

However, a good showing from this morning's housing data could help bolster investor confidence in a housing recovery and push markets higher. At 9 a.m. EDT, the Case-Shiller home price index for July is due and is expected to show a 1% gain, up from 0.5% in June. This will be followed at 10 a.m. EDT by the FHFA home price index for July, which is expected to be unchanged from June at 0.7%, along with September's consumer confidence index, which is expected to have risen from 60.6 in August to 65.

Corporate earnings reports due today include updates from Jabil Circuit, HB Fuller, and Carnival. Reports also suggest that new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will set out her plans for the company today, which could lead to extra interest in the Internet giant's shares. Caterpillar shares could be weak after the company cut its long-term earnings forecasts on Monday evening, citing weak global growth.

European markets
In Europe, markets were choppy this morning but remained largely unchanged. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde emphasized Greece's financing gap in a speech yesterday in a move EU officials believe is aimed at preparing the way for a further haircut of Greek government debt. Concerns over eurozone growth continue to dominate, and Standard & Poor's downgraded its growth forecasts for the region this morning, cutting this year's forecast for the eurozone from -0.7% to -0.8% and next year's from 0.3% to 0%.

At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.3%, the CAC was down 0.4%, the FTSE MIB was down 1.3%, and the IBEX was almost unchanged. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) was down 0.1%, with drinks giant Diageo leading the gainers with a 1.9% rise on confirmation that it is seeking to do a deal with India's United Spirits.

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Roland Head has no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Diageo. 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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