At the close on Friday, the CNN Fear & Greed Index had risen to a near-record high of 94, signifying "extreme greed." Today, it looks like that may fall back a little as investors pause for breath and wait for new economic data due later this week, which will include housing starts, existing home sales, and the Markit Flash PMI for August. Today's data is limited to the Empire State manufacturing index at 8:30 a.m. EDT, which is expected to come in at zero, an improvement on last month's reading of -5.9.
Parcels giant FedEx is due to release quarterly figures on Tuesday, but today's earnings diary is pretty much empty, and New York trading volumes could be light today due to the Jewish New Year. Many market analysts are beginning to wonder if equity prices have gotten too far ahead of fundamentals and are speculating that a pullback might occur before any further gains, given that U.S. economic data last week was a little disappointing, with jobs and industrial output figures coming in below expectations.
European markets retreated from Friday's highs slightly this morning as concerns over the eurozone crisis came to the fore once more. Germany has called for a slower, more measured pace of progress toward banking union -- seen as an essential part of the solution to the eurozone crisis. Further concerns over China's economic growth also dampened optimism after Citigroup cut its growth forecast for Chinese GDP from 8% to 7.6% for this year.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was down by 0.2%, the CAC was down by 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was down by 1.1%, and the IBEX was down by 0.8%. In London, the FTSE 10 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) was 0.3% lower, with engineer Rolls-Royce Holdings shedding 2.2% after its recent strong run. Leading the gainers were more traditional defensive shares such as Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline, both of which were up by around 1%.
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Roland Head owns shares in Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline but has no shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Unilever and FedEx. 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.