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PASSING THE TORCH

Mar. 24

The 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. EDT

The 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. EDT

When 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 INDUSTRY

Mar. 26, 6:00 a.m. EDT

Data 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. EDT

The 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 PRICES

Mar. 27, 10:00 a.m. EDT

The 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 GROWTH

Mar. 27, 8:30 a.m. EDT

The 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. EDT

The 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 SALES

Mar. 28, 7:50 p.m. EDT

Despite 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 RACES

Mar. 29

Horse-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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