U.S. stocks are set to open higher on the final day of July. All three indexes are expected to post mild gains for the month.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up about 0.2%. S&P 500 Index futures have gained 0.1%, while Nasdaq 100 futures have advanced 0.3%.
The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee will announce a policy decision tomorrow. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to forgo announcing a third round of large-scale asset purchases this week. According to a Bloomberg News survey, 48% of economists surveyed believe the FOMC will announce the buying at its Sept. 12-13 meeting.
A handful of economic reports are due out this morning, including key readings on consumer confidence, spending and income. Also look for the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices and the Chicago PMI.
Oil producer BP PLC (NYSE: BP) reported a loss of $1.4 billion, and Seagate Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: STX) results came in shy of expectations. Both are down in premarket trading. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) reported better-than-expected earnings this morning, while Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) posted an earnings decline.
Corn prices surged to a new record high Monday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues. Soybean prices also rose to the highest level since July 23. Crude oil futures moved higher Tuesday in electronic trading.
Asian markets ended mixed on speculation policy makers from the U.S. to Europe and China will do more to stimulate economic growth. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.3%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.1%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.7% after a report that the nation’s jobless rate dropped in June.
India’s electricity grid collapsed for the second time in as many days, cutting off more than half the country’s 1.2 billion population in the nation’s worst power crisis on record.
European markets were mixed in morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.2%, while the DAX in Germany added 0.5% and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2%.
The jobless rate in the eurozone has reached the highest on record. Unemployment held at 11.2% in June, the European Union’s statistics office said.