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Stocks, economic growth, and a Fed conference — 5 things to know this week

Trader watches the screen at his terminal on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New YorkTrader watches the screen at his terminal on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York
A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Photograph by Lucas Jackson — Reuters

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Global markets will open on Monday still reeling from last week’s massive sell-off, which was spurred by fears over China’s struggles as well as depressed commodity prices and uncertainty around a planned raising of U.S. interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., could deliver some measure of relief on one of those fronts, while a series of economic reports, including an updated reading on second-quarter economic growth, could also give U.S. markets a chance to rebound. Meanwhile, this week also brings an important shareholder vote from the ever-consolidating pharma industry as well as a handful of retail earnings reports.

Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

1. The Fed’s Jackson Hole conference

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo. kicks off on Thursday and investors will be closely following the three days of action while looking for clues on the timing of the central bank’s long-awaited interest rate hike. All eyes will especially be on Saturday’s speech from Fed vice chairman Stanley Fischer, who will speak about U.S. inflation. The Fed has made it clear that it will wait to raise interest rates until it sees necessary improvement in the U.S. job market and inflation approaches its 2% annual target. So far, the employment landscape has seen steady improvement, which makes Fischer’s thoughts on inflation all the more interesting.

2. Markets look to rebound after dismal week

Some more certainty regarding the timing of the Fed’s rate hike could help spark a bit of a rebound in the stock market after a dismal week that saw all three major indices drop by roughly 6%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting more than 1,000 points over five days. Of even more importance to the health of the global markets, however, is concern over sluggish growth in China, where the world’s second-largest economy has seen its own stocks plummet amid disappointing manufacturing data and a devalued yuan. Also weighing down stocks is the drop in commodity prices, as the price of crude oil continues its yearlong plunge due to ongoing oversupply.

3. U.S. economic growth

This week’s economic data reports include Thursday’s release of a second take on second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product from the Commerce Department, which could show that the U.S. economy grew at a faster pace in the last quarter than was previously reported. Also on Thursday, the National Association of Realtors puts out data on pending home sales for July, which are expected to have improved by 1% after dipping 1.8% in June. Toll Brothers, the country’s largest luxury homebuilder, is also expected to report an increase in third-quarter housing starts.

4. Shareholders vote on Mylan-Perrigo offer

Advisory firm I.S.S. is advising shareholders of pharmaceutical giant Mylan (MYL) to vote against the company’s unsolicited $33 billion hostile bid for rival drugmaker Perrigo when they decide on Friday whether or not to issue shares to back the bid. Perrigo’s board has dismissed Mylan’s offer as undervalued and the deal is also being opposed by rival Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA), which itself previously tried to acquire Mylan with its own unsolicited takeover bid worth more than $40 billion. The wild events are all playing out in the middle of this year’s massive merger boom in the pharmaceutical industry, where Teva recently agreed to pay $40.5 billion for Allergan’s generic drugs business.

5. Retail earnings: Dollar General, Best Buy, and more

Earnings season continues this week with a handful of quarterly reports from major retailers, including discount retailer Dollar General (DG), which is expected to match Wall Street’s estimates for second-quarter revenue on Thursday. However, Dollar General will soon face increased competition from its now larger rival in Dollar Tree (DLTR), which beat out Dollar General in its bid to acquire smaller chain Family Dollar Stores. Also reporting second-quarter results is PVH Corp. (PVH), the owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, which is expected to report disappointing sales numbers due to the negative effect of the strong U.S. dollar on overseas sales. Investors will be interested to hear about the results of Best Buy’s (BBY) cost-cutting initiative, Renew Blue, when the electronics retailer reports its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Other companies reporting quarterly results this week include luxury jeweler Tiffany (TIF) as well as troubled apparel retailers Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Aeropostale (ARO).

—Reuters contributed to this report.