Dow down 100, ASX set to follow


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is slipping today, down 100 points near to the close. The ASX is set open down around 1 per cent.

Investors are once again worried that the European Union, which has fumbled its response to the slow-moving European financial crisis, might delay the latest bailout of Greece.

Recall that it was fears that Greece wouldn’t accept the bailout austerity conditions that drove the Dow down Friday. Meanwhile, the most recent GDP figures show that the Greek and Portuguese economies continue to languish due to failing austerity measures.

In the U.S., while manufacturing continues to make its comeback, the electricity and mining industries posted poor January numbers.

Economically sensitive Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) is one of the biggest losers so far today, down 1.1% in afternoon trading. Peer Deere (NYSE: DE) announced strong earnings on strength in the U.S. agriculture market. Earnings per share were up 8%, and the company raised its 2012 guidance, though it did warn of potentially rising material costs.

Here in Australia, Billabong International Limited (ASX: BBG) shares are set to rocket, as the surfwear group received a $3 per share takeover bid from a group believed to be US giant TPG.

All eyes will be on Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) today as they release results, and possibly release employees from their duties. Also reporting today are QR National (ASX: QRN), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC) and ASX Limited (ASX: ASX).

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