LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) may open 0.35% lower this morning after closing at a new high last night, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) may open down by 0.37% after closing within two points of its all-time high yesterday. As the S&P 500 approaches record levels, the CNN Fear & Greed Index has also moved higher, closing at 76 yesterday in a return to "extreme greed" territory.
In Europe, protests continue in Cyprus as the country's central bank governor says its banks will open tomorrow with new capital restrictions in place. Italian markets moved lower after yet another set of negotiations failed to produce a coalition to govern the country. Italy has been without an effective government since elections were held at the end of February, and a new round of elections now looks increasingly likely.
In the U.K., the Bank of England said U.K. banks needed to raise a further $38 billion to meet capital shortfalls and cover potential loan losses. The report did not specify which banks were affected, but Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays moved higher after the announcement, which was lower than a previous $90 billion estimate. Revised GDP figures showed that the U.K. economy expanded by just 0.2% in 2012, less than the 0.3% previously reported. Both the British and French economies shrank by 0.3% in the final quarter of 2012.
In the U.S., investors will be looking ahead to February pending-home-sales figures, which are due at 10 a.m. EDT. Consensus forecasts suggest that sales may have fallen by 0.5% in February after rising by 4.5% in January. Also of interest may be the EIA weekly petroleum status report, due at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Companies due to report before the opening bell today include UniFirst, which is expected to report earnings of $1.13 per share. Companies due to report after markets close today include Paychex, Red Hat, Texas Industries, SYNNEX, HB Fuller, Steelcase, Five Below, and PVH. SAIC stock could also be actively traded this morning after the technical-services provider announced a $1 special dividend in its full-year results, which were published after markets closed last night. SAIC shares moved 4.2% higher in after-hours trading last night.
Finally, let's not forget the Dow's daily movements can add up to serious long-term gains. Indeed, Warren Buffett recently wrote, "The Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and many recessions." If you, like Buffett, are convinced of the long-term power of the Dow, you should read "5 Stocks To Retire On." Your long-term wealth could be transformed, even in this uncertain economy. Simply click here now to download this free, no-obligation report.
Roland Head has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Paychex. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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