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Markets under pressure: 4 things to watch this week

Happy Monday. I don't know where you are but here in NYC both sleet and stocks are falling from the sky. It's a gut check week for Bulls.

Here are four things you need to know as we crank up the machine for the last full week of November.

Jappan's Nikkei dropped roughly 3% on surprising news that the country's economy fell into recession.

The Nikkei (^N225) is getting hammered and taking the world with it. Japan's senior index dropped by 3% after the government reported a 1.6% drop in third quarter GDP.  Economists were looking for about a 2% gain. European stocks and Brent crude are both down on the news. In this chart of the Nikkei and you can see that 17,000 level we talk about last week giving way. The technical term for this formation is "uh oh".

Adding to the consternation, Vladimir Putin took an early powder at the G20 meeting in Australia. Basically the other countries gave Russia's dictator in Chief a hard time over invading Ukraine, so Putin took his ball and went home. He's a thug. Why that shocks people I don't know, but judging by the headlines some people are only now catching on to the fact that Russia has an isolationist streak. Stunning.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold koalas. Putin later left the G20 conference before other world leaders, citing lack of sleep. (AP Foto/G20 Australia,Andrew Taylor)

Can the U.S. shake off weakness abroad? Of course we can. American exceptionalism is the core belief we all share. Still, it's important to test that faith every so often.

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Last week was basically flat on declining volume. That's digestion of the crazy S&P 500 (^GSPC) rally from 1,820 in October. A pause is good and a pullback can be bought. Your best support is 2,000. Above that you've got a green light. Below that Big Round Number we've got issues.

Finally it's a huge week for retail. I know, I've been beating that point to death. But it's important. I'm watching Staples (SPLS) on Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wouldn't touch this stock with a hazmat suit and salad tongs, but Staples is still a good tell for the consumer and business.  Why? Because it's the 2nd largest online retailer in the world behind Amazon and about tied with Walmart somewhere around $12 billion a year in cyber revenue. Staples gets nearly 50% of its total top line from online transactions. That's right: no "mall traffic" or "bad weather" excuses apply. Staples is a decent company in a seemingly doomed business. I want to see how they did in this environment.

Related: Retail Roundup: Walmart sets the bar, Target and Best Buy up next

Dollar Tree (DLTR), GameStop (GME), L brands (LB) and William Sanoma (WSM) all report this week as well. By Friday we'll have reads on everything from the garden through the kitchen into games and the panty drawer. You won't have any excuse for ignorance so buckle down and stay focused.

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