LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) may open down by 0.29% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) may open 0.36% lower. CNN's Fear & Greed Index closed up at 81 on Friday, firmly into "extreme greed" territory.
European markets moved lower this morning, ahead of today's U.S. retail sales figures, which are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are expected to show that retail sales fell by 0.6% in April, following a 0.4% fall in March. The latest business inventories report is due at 10 a.m., and is expected to show that inventories rose by 0.2% in March, after rising 0.1% in February. New data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that industrial output rose by 9.3% in April and retail sales rose by 12.8%, compared to the same period last year. Although strong, the results were slightly below analysts' expectations, according to a Bloomberg survey.
At 7 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.24%, with emerging markets bank Standard Chartered leading the fallers and sliding 4.2%, after it emerged that short-selling fund Muddy Waters, which is run by Carson Block, has built up a short position on the bank's debt. Block believes the quality of Standard Chartered's assets is worsening, according to a CNN report. Germany's DAX was 0.4% lower, the Spanish IBEX 35 was down 1.3%, and the Italian FTSE MIB was down 0.5%, despite this morning's successful 8 billion euro auction of Italian government bonds.
First-quarter earnings season is coming to a close in the U.S., but companies due to report results today include Renren, Take-Two Interactive Software, and Dillard's, all of which are expected to report after the close. Other stocks that may be actively traded today include Tesla Motors -- the company's share price is up by 126% so far this year and rose by 40% last week, so further volatility could be likely. Shares in Corning were 1.9% higher in pre-market trading after Barclays lifted its recommendation on the shares to overweight, while Yum! Brands may slip after the chain -- which owns KFC and Pizza Hut -- reported disappointing April sales in China.
Finally, let's not forget that the Dow's daily movements can add up to some 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 about 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.