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LONDON -- Stock markets are expected to remain largely unchanged this morning until the nonfarm-payroll report is published at 8:30 a.m. EDT. As of 7:50 a.m. EDT, stock index futures aren't telling us much, indicating that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) will both open completely flat.
Today's economic calendar is dominated by the nonfarm-payroll jobs report, which will be the last major item of economic data before the presidential election. The report is expected to show an increase in job creation, with new jobs up by 125,000 compared with 114,000 in September, according to a Reuters survey. The latest unemployment data, also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is expected to show a slight increase in the overall rate, which may have risen from 7.8% in the previous month to 7.9%. The final major item of economic news today will be September's factory orders report. This is due at 10 a.m. EDT and is expected to show that factory orders rose by 4.7% in September after falling by 5.2% in the previous month.
Companies reporting quarterly results today include Penske Automotive Group, Ralph Lauren, McGraw-Hill, and Hess. Among those due to report before markets open are Alcatel-Lucent and Chevron, which is expected to report earnings of $2.83 per share, according to consensus forecasts. Other stocks that could be actively traded this morning include LinkedIn and Starbucks, both of which reported better-than-expected results after the close last night.
In Europe, the latest Markit manufacturing PMI showed that every eurozone economy except Ireland saw its manufacturing sector shrink in October, dragging the eurozone composite manufacturing PMI down from 46.1 to 45.4. Numbers below 50 indicate contraction. Most markets had edged lower by the end of the morning session. As of 8 a.m. EDT, the DAX is up 0.02%, the CAC is down 0.02%, the FTSE MIB is down 0.45%, and the IBEX is up 0.5%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) is down 0.09%.
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