What to Watch for on the Dow Today

The last several years gave investors a breakneck ride. Keeping that in mind, investors, now more than ever, need to keep as up-to-date as possible in order to make the right moves at the right time. In that spirit, let's take a look at some of the key storylines that should drive movement on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) today.

Where's the action?

  • Today marks the first trading day since credit rating agency S&P downgraded the credit ratings of France and eight other sovereign nations. The actions now leave Germany as the only eurozone country with an AAA credit rating. The downgrades also led S&P to downgrade the credit rating of the EU bailout fund EFSF, short for the European Financial Stability Facility. This certainly leaves policy makers in Europe in an increasingly precarious situation in their attempts to resolve Europe's lingering debt crisis. More news will surely follow.

  • Both Wells Fargo (NYS: WFC) and Citigroup (NYS: C) report their earnings today. For Wells Fargo, analysts expect the firm to earn $0.72 per share for the quarter on revenue of $20.1 billion. This compares to $0.61 per share in the same quarter last year. For Citi, analysts expect $0.49 from quarterly revenue of $18.5 billion. During the same quarter last year, Citi produced earnings of $0.77 per share.

  • China recently released economic growth figures from its fourth quarter. In the last quarter of 2011, the Chinese economy grew at an 8.9% rate. Although this does represent a decline from previous growth figures, a near-9% growth rate still seems pretty healthy.

Foolish bottom line
At the Fool, we advocate investing for the long term. In that light, investors always need to take day-to-day news events with a grain of salt. Don't let seemingly unrelated news events distract you from your actual goal -- to grow your personal savings over time. And while it always pays to stay informed, you'll probably end up better over time if you simply focus on your primary goals and tune out the rest of the noise.

While investing for the long term makes sense for any number of reasons, some opportunities are better than others right now. The Motley Fool recently compiled a report detailing its top stock for 2012, handpicked by our chief investment officer. Better yet, we've made it available to our readers for free, so click here to access your free copy today while you still can.

At the time thisarticle was published Andrew Tonner owns no shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The Fool owns shares of and has created a covered strangle position on Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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