LONDON -- Markets may open higher this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.35% opening gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a 0.44% gain for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Today's economic data includes September's retail sales at 8:30 a.m., which are expected to have risen by 0.9%, unchanged from August. Also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT is October's Empire State index, which is expected to have risen from -10.4 in September to -4 this month. August's business inventories are due later in the morning at 10 a.m. EDT and are expected to show an increase of 0.5%, down from 0.8% in July.
Corporate earnings reports will be dominated today by Citigroup, which is expected to report its third-quarter earnings before the bell. In other news, shares in Sprint Nextel are likely to jump when markets open after Softbank Corp announced that it is to buy 70% of the wireless carrier. Sprint shares rose sharply in premarket trading this morning.
In Europe, markets rose unexpectedly this morning after investors' confidence was boosted by a fall in China's inflation levels over the weekend. China's consumer price index rose by 1.9% in September, down from 2% in August, suggesting that there is still room for more stimulus measures to boost output without the risk of a sharp rise in inflation.
Markets were also hopeful of progress in the eurozone crisis ahead of this week's EU summit, but reports from eurozone officials over the weekend suggest that a new deal for Greece is not likely until after U.S. elections in November, when a Spanish bailout request, a Greek deal, and a bailout for Cyprus may be combined and presented to eurozone governments in one package for approval.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.7%, the CAC was up 1.4%, the FTSE MIB was up 1%, and the IBEX was up 0.4%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was up by 0.5% as the majority of companies made steady gains during the morning session. Banking shares rose particularly strongly, led by Standard Chartered with a 1.9% gain. Miners dominated the lower end of the table following a widespread downgrade by Goldman Sachs, which included cuts to its recommendations for sector giants Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and BHP Billiton.
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