LONDON -- Markets look likely to open higher this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.13% opening gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a 0.28% rise for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Today's economic calendar includes the Markit Flash PMI for October at 9 a.m. EDT. This will be followed by September's new-home sales at 10 a.m. EDT. The number of new homes sold is expected to have increased from 373,000 in August to 387,000 in September. Also on the calendar today is the Federal Open Market Committee's monthly statement at 2:15 p.m. EDT. While no changes are expected, markets will be alert for any hints of future changes to the Fed's QE program.
On the earnings front, a number of big results are due today. AT&T is expected to announce earnings that are fractionally lower than the same period last year, while Boeing is expected to report a 13% increase in revenue to $20.1 billion, against a backdrop of falling earnings per share. Eli Lilly is also expected to report a fall in earnings, with analysts forecasting a 27% drop in earnings per share against the same quarter last year.
Other companies expected to report before markets open today include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Northrop Grumman, Corning, Kimberly-Clark, and Delta Air Lines, while shares in Facebook could rise after the company released strong quarterly figures after the closing bell on Tuesday.
In Europe, investors were encouraged this morning by the HSBC China PMI for October, which rose from 47.9 in September to 49.1, indicating that contraction is slowing. The new-orders index for China reached a six-month high, driving much of the improvement in the PMI, according to HSBC. In Europe, data was weaker, with the latest eurozone PMI falling to 45.8, down from 46.1 in September. In the U.K., a new survey showed that factory orders fell by 10% for domestic orders and 17% for export orders in October.
Despite these downbeat figures, the main European markets were all modestly higher at 7 a.m. EDT. The DAX was up 0.3%, the CAC was up 0.5%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.5%, and the IBEX was up 0.4%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was up 0.2%, helped by another strong showing from ARM Holdings and a 2% gain for BAE Systems.
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