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GREAT WRITERS

Apr. 7

The 91st Pulitzer Prize awards are announced. Amazon.com (AMZN) unveils the winner of its first annual "Breakthrough Novel Award," the culmination of an American Idol-style competition in which the public gets to vote.

ALCOA (AA)

Apr. 7, 4:30 p.m.

Earnings for the first quarter of 2008 are expected to increase 47%, to 54 cents, thanks to external factors such as the weak dollar, which makes domestic smelters more competitive.

FED MINUTES

Apr. 8, 2 p.m.

The markets will want to know more about the apparent split among policymakers. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser voted against the Mar. 18 75-basis-point rate cut, saying they preferred "less aggressive action" because of concerns about future inflation.

CIRCUIT CITY (CC)

Apr. 9

The consumer-electronics chain hasn't posted a quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2007, the result of a weaker economy and stronger competition. Earnings are expected to stay negative, with losses of 7 cents a share.

BED BATH & BEYOND (BBBY)

Apr. 9, 5 p.m.

Earnings per share at the largest U.S. home-furnishing retailer are expected to rise 25%, to 65 cents, for the fourth quarter of 2007. Despite a dip in third-quarter net income because of the housing slump, which crimped purchases of household goods, annual earnings are expected to stay steady, leveling out at $2.07 per share.

EUROPEAN GDP

Apr. 9, 11 p.m.

Final fourth-quarter numbers are expected to be in line with preliminary figures already released. Those showed gross domestic product expanding 0.4% quarter-over-quarter and 2.2% year-over-year. Analysts predict investment will continue to be hit by the turbulent stock markets and a drop in consumer confidence. It remains to be seen whether domestic demand and private consumption can pick up the slack.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Apr. 10, 8:30 a.m.

The U.S. trade deficit likely expanded slightly in February, to an estimated $58 billion. Export growth, having accelerated to 1.6% in January, is expected to level off after strong gains over the previous months.

FEDERAL BUDGET

Apr. 10, 2 p.m.

Analysts project a March deficit of $95 billion, after February's red ink of $175.6 billion. That means the deficit during the first half of the fiscal year, which began October, 2007, was nearly 40% greater than last year at this time. For the full fiscal year, the deficit is likely to hit $425 billion.

GENERAL ELECTRIC

Apr. 11, 8:30 a.m.

Analysts predict earnings per share will fall slightly, to 51 cents, in GE's (GE) first quarter of 2008. But with a down market, a credit crunch, and the specter of recession, they say the relatively steady performance from quarter to quarter is not a sign of weakness.

Times shown are local


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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