LONDON -- Markets look likely to open higher this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.17% opening gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a 0.25% gain for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Economic data that will affect trading today includes the U.S. Department of Labor's September Consumer Price Index, which is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and is expected to have risen by 0.5%, down slightly from 0.6% in August. Industrial-production figures for September are due at 9:15 a.m. EDT, with a rise of 0.2% expected following a drop of 1.2% in August, while at 10 a.m. EDT, October's homebuilders' index is expected to have risen slightly to 42, up from 40 last month.
Today's earning calendar is packed with major company results, with IBM, Coca-Cola, Intel, and Johnson & Johnson all due to release quarterly figures. Goldman Sachs' results are also likely to be closely scrutinized, while Mattel, State Street, and UnitedHealth Group are also due to report earnings.
In Europe, markets were lifted this morning by reports that Spain has identified a pathway to requesting a bailout and has developed a "soft bailout" plan which it hopes will continue to allow it to access the bond markets for funding. It's also said that Spain is keen on International Monetary Fund involvement, as the IMF is now showing a greater awareness of the dangers of the harsh conditionality that is causing so many problems in Greece and Portugal. Timing is said to be the remaining issue, with the Spanish government keen to minimize the chance of opposition by Germany.
Elsewhere in Europe, the news was less uplifting. New car registrations in the European Union fell by 10.8% in September compared with the same month last year -- the biggest fall in the last 12 months.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.8%, the CAC was up 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.5%, and the IBEX was up 1.3%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was up 0.7%, as banks and miners dominated the top of the table. Lloyds Banking Group was the biggest winner at the end of the morning session, up by 3.5%.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett does not often invest outside the U.S., but he did recently invest $1 billion in a very well-known FTSE 100 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.
Are you looking to profit from this uncertain economy? "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" is The Motley Fool's latest report. We urge you to read it today -- your wealth could be transformed. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy. The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better.
Further investment opportunities: