LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 may open up by 0.18% this morning. CNN's Fear & Greed Index is set to open today at 58, unchanged from Friday's close of 58.
Overnight news that China's economy grew at an annualized rate of 7.5% during the second quarter of this year -- down from 7.7% in the first quarter -- dominated markets this morning. The figures were in line with analysts' recently downgraded targets, but they confirmed investors' fears that the country's growth is continuing to slow. However, most Asian stock markets closed slightly higher on relief that the Chinese figures were not any worse than expected.
European markets edged cautiously higher after opening, while oil prices slipped back slightly and the price of gold stayed firm following the news from China. In Europe, France's "AAA" credit rating was downgraded by Fitch to "AA+," making it the third of the major credit-rating agencies to downgrade France, but the change had little impact on bond markets. At 8 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.42%, the DAX was up 0.2%, and France's CAC 40 was up by 0.43%, while Spain's IBEX 35 index was down by 0.54% as corruption allegations continued to place pressure on the country's prime minister.
Today's U.S. economic reports include June's retail sales, which are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and are expected to rise by 0.9% after gaining 0.6% in May, driven by strong growth in auto sales. July's Empire State Manufacturing Survey is also due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and is expected to fall to 5.9 from 7.8 in June, while May's business inventories report, due at 10 a.m. EDT, is expected to remain unchanged after inventories rose by 0.3% in April.
Earnings season picks up speed today. Citigroup started things off this morning, reporting a 26% rise in adjusted quarterly profit to $3.89 billion, or $1.25 per share, on revenue of $20.5 billion. This handily beat the consensus forecast of $1.18 in EPS and $19.75 billion in revenue. Citigroup's shares were up 1.8% in premarket trading. Other companies due to report earnings today include Wynn Resorts, Brown & Brown, Cintas Corp, Gardner Denver, and JB Hunt Transport Services.
Finally, let's not forget that 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.
Copyright © 2009 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved.