Vital Signs: Weak Economy Weighs on Profits

On deck: leading indicators index, home prices, existing home sales, and a big week for earnings reports

In the coming weeks, faint-hearted investors need not apply. Two imposing questions are weighing on the minds of all market players right now: Will the efforts by Washington and Europe get credit moving through the markets again, and how much damage has already been done to the economy? Meanwhile, stock investors are entering the peak weeks of the third-quarter earnings season, which is shaping up to be worse than expected only a few weeks ago, at a time of continued exceptionally high volatility.

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