2 Things to Know About the Dow This Week

Following a 126-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) , investors have another action-packed week of international and domestic events to digest. Futures markets are indicating a lower start to this morning's trading, but let's take a longer view and look at two big events that will move markets over the week.

The EU Summit
One of the biggest events of the week comes Thursday in Brussels, where European heads of state gather for another meeting to determine the future direction of the eurozone. Under pressure to develop a solution to the increasingly distressed situation across the European periphery that has led to skyrocketing borrowing costs, the summit hopes to develop a coordinated solution to calm markets and display a unified Europe. However, an effective plan likely hinges on Germany's willingness to accept more integrated approaches to financing European governments, such as a eurobond underwritten by all of the 17 member-nations. Such a shared approach to underwriting debt would lower borrowing costs for some countries, while increasing costs for more stable member countries such as Germany. Expect the perceived effectiveness of any resolution to move markets later this week.

Obamacare on the docket
Also expected this week is a Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare." For medical-device companies like Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) , a ruling against the act could lead to a boost in shares, as that would remove the added taxation of devices built into the legislation. It's a mixed bag for large pharmaceutical companies, however, with companies like Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) likely to make up for any pricing pressure the bill would cause through increased volumes from a higher base of insured individuals taking medications. Whatever the outcome, expect the subject to dominate headlines this week, with the possibility of bigger-than-normal moves in health-care stocks.

Unrelated to the Obamacare ruling, a huge swing could come in shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARNA  ) this Wednesday. The company is awaiting an FDA approval decision for its obesity drug, lorcaserin -- a watershed moment for a biotech stock that has more than quintupled in price year to date.

Making sense of it all
While trying to make sense of a constant stream of news events can be overwhelming, it's important that investors remain focused on long-term time horizons for their investment portfolios. One method is to concentrate on structuring a portfolio of companies with sustainable businesses, attractive long-term growth prospects, and solid dividends. In our latest special free report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need," we outline a group of companies that fit that description to a "T." Hundreds of thousands have requested access to previous reports, so claim your FREE copy of this brand-new report today by clicking here now!

Brenton Flynn owns no shares in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intuitive Surgical. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intuitive Surgical and Pfizer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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