LONDON -- Markets look likely to open lower this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.77% opening fall for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a 1.01% drop for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Investors continue to be concerned about the economic outlook, and yesterday's corporate earnings reinforced that viewpoint after Caterpillar posted downbeat guidance for the remainder of the year. Today's economic data is limited to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly chain-store sales index at 7:45 a.m. EDT, the Johnson Redbook weekly retail sales index at 8:55 a.m. EDT, and October's Richmond Fed manufacturing survey at 10 a.m. EDT.
The focus on corporate earnings is likely to continue, and today's earnings calendar is very busy. Whirlpool released its quarterly figures early, raising its earnings outlook for the year and delivering adjusted earnings of $1.80 per share, better than the $1.60 forecast by analysts. DuPont's Q3 results were not so encouraging: The company revealed it will cut 1,500 jobs after adjusted earnings per share fell to $0.44 per share, down from $0.69 for the same period last year. Revenue also fell, dropping by 9% from $8.1 billion to $7.4 billion.
Companies due to report later today include 3M, United Technologies, Facebook, United Parcel Service, Harley-Davidson, Xerox, and Netflix, plus a raft of others. Shares in Yahoo! could also be active after the company released better-than-expected results after the bell last night.
In Europe, markets slipped lower this morning as disappointing corporate earnings dampened sentiment. In Spain, Moody's downgraded five more regions, reducing a further two to junk status and indirectly applying more pressure to the Spanish government's credit rating, which is currently just one notch above junk status.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 1.3%, the CAC was down 1.2%, the FTSE MIB was down 1.1%, and the IBEX was down 1.2%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was down 1.1%, dragged lower by the mining sector, which posted losses of between 2% and 4% during the morning session. At the top end of the leaderboard, smartphone chip specialist ARM Holdings gained 5.5% after unveiling a 22% increase in profits in its third-quarter results.
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