Investors get back to work in the coming week after the Thanksgiving holiday and will be looking to see whether stocks can hold or perhaps extend their gains in the five remaining weeks of the year.
With the holiday shopping season having begun in earnest last week, investors will be looking to retailers for signs of how consumer spending is registering. Consumers account for about two-thirds of economic activity and therefore can hold considerable sway over corporate profits.
In the coming week, investors probably will pay attention to sales figures released by retailers, particularly data on same-store sales, an important measure of sales at stores open at least a year.
From the Associated Press
The week ahead
* Treasury bill auction.
* Commerce Department reports on durable goods orders for October.
* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks in New York on the economic outlook.
* Commerce Department reports on preliminary estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product.
* Commerce Department reports on new-home sales for October.
* Fed releases survey of regional economic conditions.
* British Petroleum panel releases report on safety at its U.S. refineries.
* Quarterly earnings reports due from TiVo and Tiffany.
* The nation's largest retailers announce sales figures for November.
* Commerce Department reports on personal income and spending for October.
* Labor Department reports on weekly jobless claims.
* Freddie Mac reports on mortgage rates.
* Quarterly earnings reports due from Brown-Forman, H&R; Block, H.J. Heinz and Smithfield Foods.
* Commerce Department reports on construction spending for October.
* Automakers release November vehicle sales figures.
* Quarterly earnings report due from Warner Music Group.