With talk of an intermeeting rate cut in the air, today's market gets set to absorb some key economic data.

Arriving before the opening bell are the

durable goods orders for January, a report which has proved disappointing over the course of the last few months. The data measures the value of orders for big-ticket items such as cars and household appliances. This timely, albeit volatile indicator should have a deep impact on today's market. (In a separate story, our very own Dave Gaffen

explores the implications of today's durables release.)

Also slated for release today are three consumer spending indicators including the

Consumer Confidence Index, the

BTM-UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, and the

Redbook Retail Average. This trio should provide a clear picture of prevailing consumer moods.

In earnings news, retail conglomerate

Federated Department Stores

and trash management giant

Allied Waste

(AW)

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issue their fourth-quarter numbers.

Despite solid January

same-store sales, Federated recently announced that it was converting 19 of its 24 Stern's stores to Macy's and Bloomingdales.

Shares of Federated traded up 3.5% to finish at $45.71 yesterday.

Expected Earnings Reports

This table includes S&P 500 companies only. Dates are as expected according to First Call/Thomson Financial, and may change. The full week's earnings calendar is published separately.

Economic Data

(

Forecasts are from

Reuters

. Times are Eastern. For a longer-term economic calendar and more, see

TSC's

Economic Databank.

)

  • 8:30 a.m.: Durable goods orders for January. Source: Census Bureau. Forecast: -3.0%. Previous: +2.1%. Ex-transportation: Forecast: n.a. Previous: -1.4%.
  • 9 a.m.: BTM-UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Index for the week ended Feb. 24. Source: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg. Forecast: n.a. Previous: +0.9%.
  • 10 a.m.: New home sales for January. Source: Census Bureau. Forecast: 930,000. Previous: 975,000.
  • 10 a.m.: Consumer Confidence Index for February. Source: Conference Board . Forecast: 109.6. Previous: 114.4.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Redbook Retail Average for the week ended Feb. 24 vs. January. Source: LJR Redbook. Forecast: n.a.. Previous: -0.5%.

Conferences and Meetings

  • Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson addresses the Securities Industry Association on the topic of financial consolidation in New York.