The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the broader S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) were down 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, at 9:58 a.m. EST.

The macro view
The critical macro event of the week will be the leadership transition in the most powerful nation on earth. All right, so China isn't the most powerful nation on earth yet, but the Communist party's 18th National Congress does get underway on Thursday and will produce the country's new leadership.

American investors (and many others besides) will be watching tomorrow's U.S. elections more closely. Thomas Lee of JPMorgan believes stocks will go up regardless of who takes the White House, reckoning that the result will end the uncertainty associated with a tight contest. That sounds a bit like wishful thinking to me. As one uncertainty subsides, it will simply allow investors to focus on another one: Will the president and Congress do what is necessary to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff"?

Trying to make stock market bets on single events like a elections is typically a waste of time; the market does a pretty good job of handicapping events. However, some events act as catalysts for longer-term value creation. Our analysts have decided that "These Stocks Could Skyrocket After the 2012 Presidential Election." To get this free report on companies set to benefit from the election, click here now.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are holding their policy meetings this week, but there is little expectation of a change in interest rates or a new policy measure from either organization.

The micro view
Earnings season is winding down, but there are still a few prominent names to look out for, including CVS Caremark (Tuesday), Kraft Goods Group (Wednesday) and Dow component Disney (NYSE:DIS) (Thursday).

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.