For equity investors, the two biggest global worries are the future of the Japan carry trade and the severity of the US subprime mortgage mess. Therefore, they should keep a close eye on what central bankers in these two countries do this week.
The US Federal Reserve open market committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess whether interest rates should be increased to combat resurgent inflation or reduced to ensure that the prevailing housing-loan crisis does not spread.
The Bank of Japan will be meeting on Monday and Tuesday to decide whether the unsually strong economic recovery creates a case for another small rise in interest rates.
Both central banks could eventually leave interest rates untouched. If so, there will be subtle indications in official statements about what lies ahead. It is these hints that will either soothe or fray investor nerves this week.