Flat Start Expected for Markets

LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is expected to open slightly higher this morning, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open slightly lower, according to futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT.

A raft of consumer-related economic data is due out today, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT with August's personal income, consumer spending, and core PCE price index figures. Analysts are expecting all of these measures to be within 0.1% of July's readings, but recent data has surprised to both the upside and the downside.

Due later, at 9:45 a.m. EDT, is the Chicago PMI for September, expected to be down to 52.5 from 53 last month. Shortly after, at 9:55 a.m. EDT, the final reading of September's University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is due. A marginal improvement on the initial reading is expected, with analysts penciling in a rise from 79.2 to 79.5.

In company news, Walgreen is due to report its full-year results. Analysts are expecting earnings per share of $2.59 on revenue of $71.7 billion. Results from McCormick & Company are also due before markets open. Shares in Research in Motion are likely to be in demand today after rising 20% in after-hours trading on Thursday following better-than-expected results.

European markets
In Europe, markets started strongly but weakened as the morning progressed. The results of the Spanish bank stress test are due to be revealed at around 9 a.m. EDT. Also due today are details of France's 2013 budget. Bond markets are expecting a combination of tax rises and spending cuts to keep France's deficit within 3% of GDP.

At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.1%, the CAC was down 0.9%, the FTSE MIB was down 1.2%, and the IBEX was down 1.3%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) was up by 0.1%, with Mexican gold and silver miner Fresnillo topping the leaderboard with a 3.5% gain on the back of a buoyant gold price. Security outsourcing specialist G4S was up 1.4% after announcing that two senior managers had resigned following the company's Olympic fiasco, although CEO Nick Buckles will keep his job.

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Roland Head has no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McCormick. 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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