Good grief!

The market must feel like

Charlie Brown these days. Nothing seems to be going its way. At yesterday's close, the Dow was down almost 20% from its all-time closing high.

You get the feeling that just as the market is ready for a bounce,

Lucy pulls the football away leaving it flat on its back.

Today's field goal attempt comes in the form of the

initial jobless claims report, which is due out before the opening bell. The data provides a snapshot of labor market conditions and is used to predict the tone of the

employment report. Economists anticipate 372,000 claims, compared to 375,000 a week ago.

On the earnings front,

ConAgra Foods

(CAG) - Get Report

, whose consumer brands include Healthy Choice, Bumble Bee, Swiss Miss, and Snack Pack, reports profit results for its fiscal third quarter today.

Ahead of earnings, the Omaha-based company guided analysts' estimates downward for the first half of 2001 citing higher energy costs and a slowing economy as the cause.

Shares of ConAgra traded down 0.2% to finish at $18.83 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.: Initial jobless claims for the week ended March 17. Source: Labor Department. Forecast: 372,000. Previous: 375,000.
  • 10 a.m.: Leading economic indicators for February. Source: Conference Board. Forecast: -0.2%. Previous: +0.8%.
  • 11 a.m.: Treasury buyback. Source: Treasury Department. The Treasury buys securities specified yesterday from dealers.
  • 2 p.m.: FOMC minutes. Source: Federal Reserve. The Fed releases the minutes of its monetary policymaking committee's Jan. 30-31 meeting.