Stocks: Global economy in focus

@CNNMoneyInvest June 24, 2012: 11:25 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The global economy will be front and center next week as investors continue to worry about the next steps in the European debt crisis.

While Greece eased fears last week by announcing it had formed a coalition government, concerns over Spain's banking system continue to fuel investor anxiety.

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Friday that Spain will formally request bank aid on Monday after an independent audit found that the Spanish banks need up to €62 billion to restore stability to the country's financial sector.

The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain addressed worries in Rome on Friday, announcing that they agreed on a set of growth-enhancing policies equal to about €125 billion, or 1% of eurozone gross domestic product.

"We are preparing a plan for economic integration on a long-term basis in Europe," said Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at a press conference following the meeting.

This agreement comes ahead of a key two-day summit for European Union leaders, which will bring together the leaders of all 27 members of the EU in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The leaders said they plan to outline their long-term vision for the euro currency and take steps to strengthen the monetary union with deeper economic and financial integration.

They are expected to announce the formation of a banking union, which could include shared oversight and deposit insurance. They are also considering taking steps to boost growth and create jobs by increasing the resources of the European Investment Bank.

Analysts said that concrete measures from the summit would breathe life back into worldwide markets and restore investor confidence.

"The European issue has been the main issue overhanging the markets and leaders are getting the message that they can't dilly-dally any longer," said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management. "There is the opportunity for the Europeans to step up and release specific plans, which should have a positive impact on the major global markets."

Ghriskey said that global markets struggled last week as investors awaited decisive action out of Europe.

Asian markets closed mixed for the week, with the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) both down over 1% for the week. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 (N225) rose 2.7%.

London's FTSE 100 (UKX), the CAC 40 (CAC40) in Paris and the DAX (DAX) in Frankfurt managed to eke out gains for the week, although less than 1%.

U.S. stocks ended mixed for the week as Moody's downgraded 15 global banks after the market closed Thursday. The Dow and S&P 500 both ended the week lower, while the Nasdaq rose for a third straight week. The Dow (INDU) lost 0.9%, the S&P 500 (SPX) eased 0.6% for the week. The Nasdaq (COMP) advanced 0.7% over the last five trading days.

This week, traders will also be looking ahead toward a deluge of economic data and news events.

The most important piece of data will come on Thursday, as the third and final estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product is released. Analysts are expecting an upward revision to 2.2% growth from 1.9%, due mostly to a favorable trade revision.

"The trade channel could impact GDP, but if the rest of the numbers follow as they have been for the last several months, we'll see signs of a slowdown in the economy," said Brian Gendreau, a market strategist for Cetera Financial Network.

The Supreme Court could also shake up markets early in the week if it rules on the Affordable Care Act. For large insurers like UnitedHealth Group (UNH, Fortune 500), WellPoint (WLP, Fortune 500) and Aetna (AET, Fortune 500), there is a lot at stake when justices hand down their opinion.

The law promises to remake the health insurance landscape, and many of its provisions won't go into effect until 2014. The ruling could come as early as Monday.

On the corporate front, a few companies are on deck to report quarterly earnings, including struggling smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIMM) and Nike (NKE, Fortune 500), which announced it would sell off two if its brands last month.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) will hold its annual developers conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. While the company has stayed mum on specifics, it is rumored to be working on its own tablet.

Wednesday also marks the end of the 40-day quiet period in which analysts from banks involved in underwriting Facebook' (FB)s IPO aren't allowed to publicly comment on the stock. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 4:07am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
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