In the economic recovery game, earnings are the best scoreboard we've got.

With that in mind, here's 21 Earnings Watch scorecard, a guide to the earnings news on the 21 components of our new index designed to be a leading indicator of the economy's direction. We'll update the scorecard whenever components post earnings or issue guidance on their outlook.

Last week, a slew of earnings reports offered a mixed bag. Industrials such as Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Report and Ingersoll-Rand (IR) - Get Report posted stellar earnings, with a little help from a weak dollar. Financial service firms such as E*Trade (ET) - Get Report, also had bang-up quarters as the stock market rally lifted all trading-related businesses.

Several non-TSC 21 tech companies posted earnings in line with expectations but failed to signal a vibrant recovery to justify market valuations, enough to push frothy tech stocks lower. And a few perpetual turnaround companies such as Maytag (MYG) showed no signs of a substantial recovery.

This week, two TSC 21 components -- media outfit A.H. Belo (BLC) and battered but Buffett-backed telecom Level 3 Communications (LVLT) -- report earnings. As with many earnings reports, the key will be signs of recovery. For Belo, it's a sign of a recovery in advertising spending. For Level 3, it's a sign of a recovery for an industry left for dead.

Source: Multex, 21 is a new index of 21 components designed to be a leading indicator of the economy's direction for the rest of the year and beyond. Click here for an introduction to the index, here for the latest TSC 21 articles and here to view the entire chart of 21 components, including the reasons for their inclusion.

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