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PASSING THE TORCHMar. 24The Olympic Torch kicks off its world tour from Olympia, Greece, officially starting the countdown to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

WALGREENS (WAG)Mar. 24, 8:30 a.m. EDTThe drugstore chain's second-quarter earnings could see a lift thanks to leap year. February same-store sales rose 8.3%. Analysts expect the extra day of business to push earnings per share up to 67 cents.

TIFFANY (TIF)Mar. 24, 8:30 a.m. EDTWhen the jewelry retailer reports fourth-quarter earnings, there should be some added sparkle from the all-important holiday shopping season. Earnings per share are expected to rise to $1.20.

EURO ZONE INDUSTRYMar. 26, 6:00 a.m. EDTData on manufacturing orders could provide a welcome surprise. Although country-by-country corporate-confidence readings have been mixed, the region's leading manufacturing index shows continued expansion.

ORACLE (ORCL)Mar. 26, 5:00 p.m. EDTThe world's third-largest software maker is expected to post unspectacular results for its fiscal third quarter, ended on Feb 29. Analysts are looking for earnings to stay level at 30 cents a share. Since Oracle's quarter ends a month ahead of most other large technology companies, investors will be scrutinizing its numbers for insights into how the weakened U.S. economy is affecting tech companies.

HOUSE PRICESMar. 27, 10:00 a.m. EDTThe S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index reading for December showed the biggest drop since the group began keeping year-on-year records in 2001. The January number is likely to show another steep decline, signaling that the worst of the housing crunch isn't over yet.

GDP GROWTHMar. 27, 8:30 a.m. EDTThe final fourth-quarter report for 2007 is expected to show that the U.S. economy grew 0.7% in the last three months of the year—slightly better than the preliminary report's 0.6% gain. Look for exports to be revised upward.

CONAGRA FOODS (CAG)Mar. 27, 12:00 p.m. EDTThe company expects its 2008 third-quarter profits to exceed expectations, with strong performances in its energy- and commodity-trading units offsetting the rising costs at its consumer-food business. Analysts are not quite so sanguine: The consensus is that earnings will slip to 39 cents per share.

JAPAN RETAIL SALESMar. 28, 7:50 p.m. EDTDespite real gains in household income, consumer spending has been soft in recent months. The latest round of retail data will provide further insight into whether Japan can sustain a domestic-led recovery.

A DAY AT THE RACESMar. 29Horse-racing aficionados from around the world converge on the Persian Gulf for the Dubai World Cup. The race boasts a $6 million purse, the sport's richest prize.


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