LONDON -- At 7 a.m. EST, stock index futures suggested an opening loss of 0.37% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) and a fall of 0.27% for the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) . The Dow has closed lower for the last four days.
After yesterday's disappointing jobless-claim figures, today's economic calendar is centered on October's industrial production, which is expected to have risen by 0.2% after gaining 0.4% in September. Also due is October's capacity utilization data, expected to show no change from September at 78.3%.
CNN's Fear & Greed Index has continued to fall in recent days and closed yesterday at 28, which indicates fear and is close to the 25 level signifying "extreme fear." Investors will be hoping that President Obama's planned budget talks produce a positive outcome to halt the market's decline.
In corporate news, Dell shares were down in premarket trading and may fall when markets open after the company revealed a 47% fall in third-quarter profit in a trading update after the close on Thursday. Companies due to report earnings today include Foot Locker, while J. M. Smucker could rise when markets open after it reported an 8% increase in net sales during the second quarter and raised its full-year earnings guidance.
Markets slid lower in Europe this morning on fears over the fiscal cliff and ongoing uncertainty about the resolution of the eurozone crisis. However, in an unexpected piece of good news, eurozone trade data published this morning showed that over the first eight months of this year, Greek exports rose by 11%, while exports from Portugal rose by 10%. Imports fell in both countries, helping to contribute toward a eurozone trade surplus of 9.8 billion euros, up from 1.7 billion euros for the same period last year.
At 7:45 a.m. EST, the DAX was down 0.4%, the CAC was down 0.4%, the FTSE MIB was down 1.2%, and the IBEX was down 0.56%. In London, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was down by 0.67%, with industrial turnaround group Melrose the biggest faller, dropping 13% after warning of a slowdown in new orders. At the other end of the leaderboard, outsourcing specialist Serco Group rose 3.4% on a strong trading update.
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