LONDON -- Markets look likely to open higher this morning, with futures markets at 7 a.m. EDT predicting a 0.46% opening gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and a 0.44% rise for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC).

Today's economic calendar kicks off at 8:30 a.m. EDT with weekly jobless claims, September's durable goods orders, and the Chicago Fed national activity index. Durable-goods orders are expected to have risen by 8.3% in September following a 13.2 fall in August, while jobless claims are expected to have fallen to 370,000, down from 388,000 the previous week.

Corporate-earnings season remains in full swing. Shortly before 7 a.m. EDT, Sprint-Nextel unveiled a third-quarter loss of $0.26 per share on revenue of $8.81 billion. Other companies reporting today include Apple, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, ConocoPhillips, Colgate-Palmolive, and Dow Chemical.

European markets
In Europe, a raft of disappointing earnings reports didn't stop markets from making early gains. Daimler, Credit Suisse, and France Telecom all reported falling profits. Meanwhile, in the U.K., advertising giant WPP cut its guidance for the year ahead, with CEO Martin Sorrell telling Reuters that "We're exceedingly cautious now." However, consumer goods company Unilever reported strong growth during the third quarter, with turnover up by 10.3% and emerging-market sales up by 12.1%.

On the economic front, the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics reported this morning that GDP rose by 1% in the third quarter, lifting the U.K. out of recession. However, there are concerns that as much as 0.7% of the underlying growth was the direct result of the Olympic Games, suggesting that growth could slow once more in the final quarter of the year.

At 7 a.m. EDT, the DAX was up 0.5%, the CAC was up 0.6%, the FTSE MIB was up 0.4%, and the IBEX was up 0.2%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was up 0.2%, with Unilever topping the leaderboard with a 2.96% gain during the morning session. Gold and silver miner Fresnillo was also up, gaining 2.5% after confirming that it will proceed with a feasibility study for the development of its $500 million San Julian silver project.

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Roland Head owns shares in Unilever but has no shares in any of the other companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, France Telecom, and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of France Telecom,, Apple, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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.