Dow: What Counts This Week

It's been a tough start to the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) down 0.26% and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) down 0.32% as of 10:15 a.m. EDT. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.9% today, as the World Bank warned that a slowdown in China could be more severe and longer-lived than the market anticipates -- hardly a reassuring message for equity investors the world over.

Speaking of the World Bank, this is a light week on the central-banking front, but the official sector will publish three reports that could have a bearing on the risk-on/risk-off dynamic. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund publishes its latest World Economic Outlook, and its Global Financial Stability Report will be released Wednesday. And on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve publishes its Beige Book (formally: Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT. This report, along with weekly jobless claims, may draw more scrutiny than usual on the back of last week's surprise drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8%.

Finally, third-quarter earnings season begins this week, with aluminum producer and Dow component Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) reporting on Tuesday. The next few weeks will be crucial for the stock market as companies refine their guidance for 2013 results. Current estimates for the S&P 500 set a very high bar, but lowering it would put the summer rally in jeopardy. Because Alcoa is an economic bellwether, its results and comments will be highly instructive, but investors who want to frogleap the economic cycle are watching "3 Stocks to Own For The New Industrial Revolution" instead. You can, too, by clicking here and requesting your free report.

Fool contributor Alex Dumortier holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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