2 Events About to Rock the Dow

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Despite suffering mixed trading results at the end of last week, 2012 remains a positive year for investors. And the beginning of the third week hasn't disappointed yet, with all three major indices up, although they did trail off toward the end of the day. How Wednesday fares will probably depend on the pre-market releases of a handful of companies and one key economic statistic, the Producer Price Index (PPI).

But before we jump into this morning's events, let's see how the three largest indices fared yesterday.

Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) 60.010.48%12,482.07
Nasdaq17.410.64%2,728.08
S&P 5004.580.36%1,293.67

Yesterday was a relatively solid day on the market. The euro, gold, and oil all edged up slightly, and 10-year Treasuries suffered a minor decline. But today could be a lot more turbulent as 60 companies report earnings, many from the critical banking sector and one significant marker for the health of the American economy rolls out.

Let's start with that macro news, the PPI. It is essentially an inflation index, showing the wholesale price of finished goods. Like the Consumer Price Index (CPI), there is also a core number that strips out volatile food and commodity inflation. Analysts are expecting a benign 0.1 figure, as inflation is seemingly nowhere to be found in the liquidity trap currently consuming the broader economy, despite concerns by some that repeated Federal Reserve and Treasury action would create a high-inflation scenario. If we see a surprise here, however, it could send ripples through the markets.

The real story today will be earnings, specifically earnings from the banking sector, a critical barometer for the health of our economy.

Citigroup (NYS: C) plunged 8% after disappointing with weaker-than-expected results, including a double-digit decline in earnings. The table couldn't be set much worse for Goldman Sachs' (NYS: GS) report today. As we saw with Citi and fellow Wall Street titan JPMorgan Chase, a tough year for investment banking is likely to weigh on Goldman, and analysts expect trading revenue to decline. On the flip side, US Bancorp (NYS: USB) , a more traditional banking operation, is expected to show a 29% increase in earnings on only a 1% increase in sales. Banks with large retail presences appear to be faring better that than their high-finance counterparts, and with a number of banking institutions reporting we will see whether that remains true. Yesterday the Direxion Financial Bull 3X (NYS: FAS) held up well, losing only 1.6% during normal trading hours, but with so many banks reporting, investors playing the leveraged ETF should expect a volatile day.

Stay tuned for our analysis on banking earnings and general market events throughout the day.

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At the time this article was published David Williamsonholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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