LONDON -- Markets look likely to open lower this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT suggesting a 0.81% opening fall for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a 0.52% fall for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Economic news today is likely to be dominated by the third-quarter GDP figures, which are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Analysts are forecasting an increase of 1.7%, up from 1.3% in the second quarter.
After Apple's earnings disappointed investors after the bell last night, the company's shares could be on the move when markets open this morning. Companies due to report quarterly results today include Comcast, Goodyear Tyre and Rubber, KKR, Merck, and Moody's. This morning, Coventry Health Care reported third-quarter revenue of $3.5 billion, up by 16% from the same quarter last year. Weyerhaeuser also reported an increase in revenue compared to the same period last year but said that net earnings fell from $157 million last year to $117 million for the third quarter of 2012.
Finally, health care insurer Aetna reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.55, exceeding the consensus analysts forecast of $1.33 per share. The company reported a 2% rise in third-quarter earnings, which it said was partly due to low health-care utilization, a common historical trend following recessions. Aetna CFO Joe Zubretsky said in an interview that health care use had been "incredibly low" over the last two years but that the company would "assume that utilization will continue to come back."
Markets drifted lower this morning as markets waited to see whether U.S. GDP would disappoint. In Spain, unemployment reached 25%, but in Germany, the GfK Consumer Confidence Index rose to 6.3 in October -- the highest level since October 2007. At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down 0.6%, the CAC was down 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was down 1%, and the IBEX was down 1.3%.
In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was down 0.9% at 7 a.m. EDT. Mining giant Anglo American bucked the trend, gaining 2.2% through the morning following the announcement that its CEO, Cynthia Carroll, is to leave the company. Banking shares fell following reports that nine further banks have received subpoenas in connection with the LIBOR-fixing enquiry.
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