Markets Hesitate After Election Day

LONDON -- After closing higher on Election Day, stock markets are expected to open broadly flat this morning. As of 7:50 a.m. EST, stock index futures indicate an opening fall of 0.7% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) and a loss of 0.6% for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) .

Today is another quiet day on the economic calendar, with September's consumer credit figures the only significant piece of data due for release. Elsewhere, the pending Greek parliamentary vote on the country's austerity package could cause a volatile reaction in European and U.S. markets if the vote goes against the government.

Back at home, companies due to report earnings today include CBS, Time Warner, Macy's, and Kraft Foods Group. Health insurer WellPoint has also reported this morning, saying that third-quarter adjusted earnings were $2.09 per share, ahead of the $1.83 forecast by analysts. WellPoint's shares could rise when markets open, as could those of AES, which reported third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $0.36, up from $0.28 for the same period last year. AES confirmed its previous full-year guidance and announced that it had increased its cost-savings target by $45 million to $145 million and that it plans to repay $225 million of debt.

European markets
In Europe, markets have lost their early gains and slipped into the red, partly due to uncertainty over the situation in Greece, where the country's parliament is currently debating the 13.5 billion euro package of cuts that must be approved before the country can receive its next bailout payment. Today's vote is expected to be a preliminary vote; a final vote is not expected until Sunday.

As of 8 a.m. EST, the DAX is down 0.2%, the CAC is down 0.55%, the FTSE MIB is down 1.1%, and the IBEX is down 0.76%. In Athens, the Athex is flat as traders wait for the outcome of the parliamentary vote. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) is down 0.25%, though investors were initially bullish today in the expectation that U.S. monetary-easing policies would continue to support commodity and stock prices. Moving against the trend was African gold-miner Randgold Resources, which is down 3.9% following a downbeat trading statement which revealed a fall in Q3 production.

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Roland Head owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of WellPoint. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.


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