What to Watch This Week: Pill Pushers, Fund Rituals and Seed Kings

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Agriculture - Chemical application on soybeans with a farmstead in the background / Illinois, USA.
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You can never know in advance all the news that will move the market in a given week, but some things you can see coming. From earnings out of a pharmacy leader to those from a controversial farm supplier, here are some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.

Monday -- A Little Bit of Window Dressing: The first day of the new trading week also marks the end of the third quarter of the calendar year. That may not be a big deal to most people, but try telling that to mutual fund managers. Whatever stocks they are holding at the end of the day that will be listed on the quarterly reports that typically go out to their shareholders.

Which brings us to the pointless practice of window dressing, where money managers try to doll up their portfolios by buying into the period's hottest stocks. It's a silly maneuver: Investors are smart enough to go by actual performance reports. Thankfully there aren't too many fund managers resorting to this practice anymore. The Internet and easy access to information makes it harder to trick people these days.

Tuesday -- Down on the Pharm: Drugstores seem to be all-weather performers. In good times and bad, people need to fill their prescriptions.

Walgreen (WAG) has made the most of the situation with its growing network of more than 8,000 drugstores. Analysts see the pharmacy giant earning $0.72 a share for the quarter when it reports on Tuesday, well ahead of the $0.63 a share it earned a year earlier. Wall Street sees revenue growing at a more modest 5 percent clip.

Wednesday -- Sowing the Seeds of Controversy: Monsanto (MON) has been a provider of agricultural chemicals for years. From weed killers to seed traits that result in more bountiful harvests, farmers and green thumbs rely on Monsanto to help improve their yields.

Some people don't see it that way. Monsanto has become a popular target for activist groups arguing that the company is making food toxic by introducing genetically modified organisms or GMOs into the food chain. Monsanto reports on Wednesday. It's unlikely to discuss the protests that organized across the country earlier this year.

Thursday -- Chasing the Checkered Flag: Auto racing is a popular spectator sport, and few know that better than International Speedway (ISCA). This is the parent company of the Daytona and Talladega motor sports speedways, where patrons park themselves along the course to see cars drive real fast.

International Speedway reports on Thursday morning. Investors shouldn't take the projected small deficit personally. This is a seasonal business, and last quarter was actually the sport's softest period. It's just too hot to race over the summer.

Friday -- Clooney and Bullock Lost In Space: The markets will be quiet on the first Friday of the new quarter, but your local multiplex operator is hoping that "Gravity" takes off.

Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" should be a big winner for Time Warner (TWX), the media giant putting out the movie which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts coping with a disaster in space. October is usually a quiet month for exhibitors outside of the Halloween-oriented horror fare that opens later in the month. However, two award-laden celebrities in a movie that crosses across a few different genres should help draw a sizable audience to the opening weekend screenings.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends International Speedway. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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