What's Driving the Dow This Week

Investors look to shrug off a tough week tomorrow after watching the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) fall 218 points last week on a plethora of negative news in the U.S. and abroad. Last week's 1.7% decline brings the blue chip index's year-to-date return just south of 5%, a 3.5% dip from 2012 highs on the first day of the month. Do stocks have further to fall this week, or will the market climb the proverbial wall of worry?

While Friday's Facebook IPO will take the main stage this week, markets will undoubtedly continue to home in on the modern-day Greek tragedy unfolding across the pond as well as first-quarter GDP reports around the eurozone. Also likely to capture its share of headlines this week is amped-up political rhetoric in the wake of JPMorgan Chase's announcement of a $2 billion loss from a hedge gone astray. The blurring definitions of risk-management and risk-taking within banks is the topic du jour as negative sentiment spreads across the sector, affecting other big names such as Bank of America (NYS: BAC) and Citigroup (NYS: C) .

Talking shop
On the earnings front, the nation's retailers will attempt to provide some much-needed positive news for investors. Will slowing domestic employment growth weigh on results? U.S. retail bellwethers Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot will garner much of the attention, with smaller participants such Sears Holdings (NAS: SHLD) and J.C. Penney (NYS: JCP) also adding their own unique storylines to the mix. J.C. Penney is attempting a bold turnaround, as former Apple star Ron Johnson attempts to free the retailer of its stodgy department-store reputation and breathe new life into the brand by reconfiguring store layouts and transitioning its pricing strategy toward "everyday low prices." Sears has taken bold steps of its own of late, selling off stores to shore up its balance sheet as losses continue to mount.

While we love to hear about the stores we know and love, the fact remains that some of the best retail investing opportunities aren't found on U.S. soil. In fact, one foreign retailer has our analysts so excited they've made it "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." With a visionary leader at the helm and a huge, untapped market well within its grasp, this company is taking Latin America by storm. Find out more by reading our special report, yours free.

At the time thisarticle was published Brenton Flynn owns no shares of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup, Bank of America, Apple, and JPMorgan Chase.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Home Depot and Apple, creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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