LONDON -- Yesterday's sharp fall has left stock futures hesitant this morning. As of 7 a.m. EST, stock futures indicated an opening gain of 0.34% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and a gain of 0.12% for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) .
Today's economic calendar may help provide some direction for markets, with both weekly jobless claims and September's trade deficit due to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST. Jobless claims are expected to have risen slightly from 363,000 to 365,000, while the deficit is expected to have expanded from $44.2 billion to $45.1 billion. Corporate earnings for the last quarter will continue to attract attention. Among those reporting today are Duke Energy, Kohl's, Dean Foods, Nordstrom, Walt Disney, and FirstEnergy.
Yesterday's stock market plunge highlighted a sudden change of sentiment as investors realized that the same team is still in charge of resolving the fiscal cliff -- something they have so far failed to do. As a result, CNN's Fear & Greed Index swung down by 14 points to 40, signifying a shift in sentiment from "Neutral" to "Fear."
European markets moved slightly higher this morning after last night's Greek parliament austerity vote, which the government won by a narrow margin. A second vote is required on Sunday to approve the country's 2013 budget. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee voted to leave interest rates unchanged and not to add any further quantitative easing to the economy at its monthly meeting this morning. The European Central Bank is also holding its monthly meeting today; an announcement is expected around the time U.S. markets open.
At 7:40 a.m. EST, the DAX was up 0.5%, the CAC was up 0.73%, the FTSE MIB was down 0.17%, and the IBEX was up 0.71%. Investors may have been encouraged by the success of a government bond auction held by Spain this morning, during which it managed to sell 4.8 billion euros of three-, five, and 20-year bonds -- more than the 3.5 billion euros to 4.5 billion euros targeted, although yields rose on the longer-dated bonds. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) was up 0.25%, with fashion brand Burberry Group topping the table following an upbeat trading statement yesterday.
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