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RETAIL SALESApr. 14, 8:30 a.m. EDTU.S. sales are expected to be flat in the upcoming March report after falling 0.6% in February.
EURO INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTIONApr. 14, 4 a.m. EDTIndustrial production in the euro zone rose 0.9%, month over month, in January, led by a strong rise in output of capital goods. The February reading may also show positive growth, though from all indications the major economies on the other side of the Atlantic are losing momentum as the year progresses.
BANK EARNINGSApr. 15Washington Mutual (WM) kicks off a week of bank earnings reports. WaMu's losses are expected to narrow to 37 cents per share in the first quarter, from $2.19 in the previous three months. At JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which reports the next day, earnings are likely to be down some 40% from a year ago. On Friday, Citigroup (C) is expected to announce a loss of 41 cents per share. The standout of the bunch will be Wachovia (WB): On Apr. 18 the bank will announce that its first-quarter earnings actually rose—to 58 cents a share, analysts estimate, up from 8 cents in the previous quarter.
INFLATIONApr. 16, 8:30 a.m. EDTU.S. inflation took a breather in February, but the March Consumer Price Index reading is expected to show a 0.3% increase. Blame it on the usual suspects: rising food and gas prices.
BEIGE BOOKApr. 16, 2 p.m. EDTComing on the heels of the dismal job numbers released earlier this month, the Beige Book report for March should provide further confirmation that the U.S. is in a recession. The Fed's report may contain interesting insights into how the downturn is playing out across the country, revealing what may be unexpected pockets of strength in regional economies.
IBM (IBM)Apr. 16, 4:30 p.m. EDTWith its globally diversified customer base, Big Blue is better poised than other tech blue chips to withstand a slump in the U.S. The betting among analysts is that first-quarter earnings will be up 19% over the same period last year, to $1.44 per share.
PFIZER (PFE)Apr. 17, 10 a.m. EDTThe pharmaceutical giant is expected to post earnings per share of 66 cents for the first quarter, roughly on par with the same period last year.
CHINA INFLATIONApr. 17, 10 p.m. EDTInflation on the mainland soared to an annualized rate of 8.7% in February—a 12-year high—because of disruptions to food and energy supplies caused by freak winter storms. Economists expect the March rate to come in slightly lower, at 8.5%.
GOOGLE (GOOG)Apr. 18, 4 p.m. EDTThe combination of a soft economy and disappointing click-through rates on the paid ads that run next to Google's search results has analysts paring back their first-quarter estimates. Earnings are expected to jump 22% over the same period last year, which is not quite as heady as the previous quarter's nearly 40% leap.