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Up this week: More DC drama, Apple earnings and a big jobs number

Congress is going home for the summer and Wall Street is gearing up for the final month of the season in the Hamptons.

As July heads out the door and August makes its debut, the lack of players doesn't mean there won't be a game. Looking into the week ahead, there are three things investors still paying attention need to watch.

A worker uses a heat gun to smooth out the wrinkles on a car seat during production at the Lear Corp. manufacturing facility in Hammond, Indiana.
Jim Young | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jobs Friday

We'll need to get to the end of the week for the really big news. The top market headline for the week likely will come Friday when the Labor Department releases its nonfarm payrolls count.

June saw a nice rebound for the jobs count with 222,000 new positions as the unemployment rate sat at a solid 4.4 percent, according to FactSet. Economists expect July to be a bit softer, with growth of 180,000 that still will be more than enough to absorb new entrants the labor force and keep the headline rate low. In fact, the estimate is that the jobless number probably drops to 4.3 percent.

What the market will be focused on more, though, is whether U.S. workers are making any more money. The annual pace of hourly earnings showed 2.5 percent growth in June, and is expected to stay right there for July.

There have been millions of new jobs created during the recovery and it's still hard to get any above-average gains in pay and thus the standard of living: That's going to be an issue that vexes economists for years.

Apple earnings

Corporate America continues to roll up the profits, with companies in the on track to show earnings gains at 9.1 percent — a healthy pace if a bit lower than the first quarter produced. With a little over half the index reporting so far, 73 percent have posted results better than Wall Street estimates.

This week features one of the market's biggest names, in a report that investors should be watching closely.

Apple on Tuesday will disclose its results, with analysts expecting big things. The iPhone giant is forecast to show profit of $1.57 a share, a 10.7 percent gain from the same period a year ago, on revenue of $44.89 billion, or 6 percent higher, according to Thomson Reuters.

Tech stocks have been the market leaders for most of the year, but the trade seemed to hit at least a bit of a wall last week. Strong results from Apple could help the sector get its mojo back.

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP

The White House of horrors

The theater of the absurd that has become Washington politics has gotten improbably even weirder since Anthony Scaramucci has taken over as communications director.

In a stunningly vulgar rant to a reporter at The New Yorker last week, the former hedge funder drew yet more gasps from both Washington and Wall Street. Greg Valliere, the chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, observed that it was all part of the "worst week of Trump's presidency."

Aside from Scaramucci's rant, efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare suffered a painful and prolonged failure, hopes that tax reform would accompany tax cuts similarly perished, and the Fed showed no signs of slowing down in its efforts to raise interest rates and tighten monetary policy.

"Perhaps the dysfunction will cool off during the dog days of August, and perhaps there can be a focus on the still-improving economy," Valliere wrote. "But we have to worry, after this ugly week, that Trump, Jared Kushner, Scaramucci — all arrogant New Yorkers — are in way over their heads, unwilling to take guidance from those who know how Washington works."

The big question is when, if ever, this finally catches up to the market and pulls stocks down from their lofty highs. Technical signs are building up that stocks at least are primed to cool off if not post a significant slide.

Of all the stories investors need to watch, perhaps the ongoing dramedy in Washington is the most significant.