LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EST indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) may open 0.45% lower this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) may open 0.4% lower. CNN's Fear & Greed Index remains in "extreme greed" territory after closing at 88 yesterday.
Today's weekly jobless-claims data, due at 8:30 a.m. EST, is expected to show a slight improvement on the previous week, with claims falling from 366,000 to 360,000. However, any improvement here could be overshadowed by news that both Europe and Japan remain in recession. Eurozone GDP fell by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2012, while in Japan, GDP fell by 0.1% over the same period.
Corporate earnings may provide some good news, with several big names due to report this morning. PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) made a strong start, reporting 5% growth in organic revenue for 2012 and earnings per share of $1.09, beating expectations for earnings of $1.05 per share. Other big names expected to release quarterly earnings before the opening bell include General Motors, Discovery Communications, DirecTV, Molson Coors Brewing, BorgWarner, Waste Management, and Apache.
Stocks that could be actively traded this morning include Cisco Systems, which was down 2% in premarket trading after updating its third-quarter revenue guidance, and Applied Materials, which was nearly 3% higher in premarket trading after forecasting a pick-up in equipment sales.
Markets moved firmly lower in Europe this morning as the details of the disappointing GDP figures became clear. In the final quarter of 2012, eurozone GDP fell by 0.6%, exceeding expectations for a 0.4% drop and confirming the eurozone's ongoing recession. In individual countries, GDP fell 0.9% in Italy, 1.8% in Portugal, 6% in Greece, 0.6% in Germany, and 0.3% in France. Figures for Spain were not published today, while in the U.K., GDP fell by 0.3% in the final quarter of last year.
At 7 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 1.1%, the CAC 40 was down 0.8%, the FTSE MIB was down 1%, and the IBEX 35 was down 1.6%. In London, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) was down 0.8%, with oil services and engineering firm AMEC the biggest faller, down 6.1% after it downgraded its guidance for the year ahead despite beating expectations in its full-year results. Pharmaceutical firm Shire was 3.5% lower, cruise ship giant Carnival was down 2.9%, and miner Eurasian Natural Resources was down 2.6%, probably due to profit-taking following its recent strong gains.
If you're looking for shares that can outperform the wider market, you need to look beyond the news headlines. This free Motley Fool report, "The Top Growth Share For 2013," highlights a share that gained 38% in 2012, during which time the wider market rose just 6%. The company is a household name, and its earnings per share have risen by 44% since 2009 -- so click here now to download your free copy of this report while it is still available.
Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apache, PepsiCo, Cisco Systems, and Waste Management. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Cisco Systems, BorgWarner, Waste Management, PepsiCo, and General Motors. 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. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.