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ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Jan. 8 - New Hampshire holds the second major Presidential nominating contest. The primary will be a key test of viability for candidates, particularly in the GOP, where it remains a five-person race.

GERMAN MANUFACTURING

Jan. 8, 6 a.m. EST - The November factory-orders report and the industrial-output figures (a day later) will shed new light on the slowdown in demand. Foreign-trade figures on Jan. 9 should show that factory exports are getting nicked by a strong euro and a weaker U.S. economy.

KB HOME

Jan. 8, 8:30 a.m. EST - The homebuilder (kbh) is expected to post another quarterly loss. Investors will be on the lookout for write-downs as land and home values continue to decline with few signs that the housing recession is close to hitting bottom.

ALCOA

Jan. 9, 4:30 p.m. EST - Weaker aluminum prices and higher energy costs could crimp fourth-quarter profits. On Dec. 22, Alcoa (AA) agreed to sell its packaging and consumer businesses to Rank Group as part of its strategy to shed low-margin units. The moves may also make Alcoa a more attractive takeover target.

EUROPEAN MONETARY POLICY MEETINGS

Jan. 10 - The European Central Bank and Bank of England are not expected to alter interest rates. Economists will pay close attention to post-meeting statements for any clues regarding future action. Both of the central banks are confronting credit-market turmoil and slower growth, but the ECB must also contend with rising inflation.

SEVEN & I HOLDINGS

Jan. 10 - The parent of 7-Eleven and Ito-Yokado department stores will report fiscal third-quarter results. Higher costs and tepid consumer spending growth are weighing on earnings at its retail units.

FOOD FIGHT

Jan. 11 - The European Union faces a deadline to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling to end a ban on genetically modified (GM) food imports. Meanwhile, green parties and other opponents are pinning their hopes on the labeling of GM foods and regulations that ensure products containing such produce are not marked organic.

INFOSYS

Jan. 11, 12 midnight EST - An appreciating currency has probably hurt the Indian info-tech company's (INFY) fiscal third-quarter results. Because a large slice of its revenue comes from the U.S., the rupee's rapid rise against the dollar led the company to say that it could lose nearly $500 million in sales this fiscal year.

U.S. FOREIGN TRADE REPORT

Jan. 11, 8:30 a.m. EST - Higher energy prices will widen the November trade gap. But most attention will be paid to export growth. Indications are that economic activity abroad is beginning to moderate, particularly in some of the largest U.S. export destinations such as the euro zone, Mexico, and Canada.


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