LONDON -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Markets closed higher last night after a late wave of buying, but expectations seem lower for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second day of testimony on Capitol Hill. Traders will be looking for positive confirmation that Bernanke is planning another wave of quantitative easing -- something he seems unlikely to provide, based on yesterday's testimony. Bernanke's testimony begins at 10 a.m. EDT.
Also of interest this morning will be the latest housing start figures, which are due to be published at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Analysts' consensus forecasts suggest an increase of 42,000, taking the total number of housing starts in June to 750,000. Following this, at 10:30 a.m. EDT the U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly petroleum status report will be published, and then at 2 p.m. EDT the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book will be released.
Earnings season continues today, with a number of big companies due to report. IBM, Honeywell, eBay, Yum Brands, and Blackrock are all among those due to release figures through the day and after the bell. A number of companies reported earnings before markets opened, including Bank of America
In Europe, government bonds in perceived safe-haven countries continued to rise in value. Germany sold 4 billion euros of two-year bonds at a record-low yield of 0.06%, while yields on U.K. two- and five-year bonds also dropped to their lowest-ever levels. Against this backdrop, Greek coalition party leaders held an emergency meeting in an effort to agree on a plan to achieve 11.7 billion euros of spending cuts in order to remain within the terms of their bailout agreement and gain access to the next installment of EU funds.
European markets traded cautiously during the morning session, with the DAX up 0.2% at 7 a.m. EDT, the CAC up 0.7%, and the FTSE 100
One of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's biggest holdings is in IBM, which reports today, but a more recent purchase for the world's third-richest man is his 5% holding in a famous U.K. blue chip brand. This FTSE 100 company is currently out of favor with investors, but it offers strong expansion potential and a very long history of earnings and dividend growth. You can get the full details of the deal in this special free report, including the identity of the company and the price Buffett paid for his shares.
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Roland Head does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and International Business Machines. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of BlackRock and eBay. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in International Business Machines. 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.