The Federal Open Market Committee convenes for its penultimate meeting of the year today. The FOMC is expected to leave the Fed funds rate unchanged at 6.5%, where it has been since May.

Investors will pay close attention to the committee's remarks -- to be released on adjourning -- for clues about where interest rates will head in the future. (

TheStreet.com

analyzed the implications of that statement in a separate

story.)

Elsewhere in the marketplace, a new group of companies -- including chipmaker

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

and retailer

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

-- reports results.

Expected Earnings Reports

This table includes S&P 500 companies only. Dates are as expected according to First Call/Thomson Financial, and may change.

Economic Data

(

Forecasts are from

Reuters

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

TSC's

Economic Databank.

)

  • 7 a.m.: Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended Friday. Source: Mortgage Bankers Associations. Refinancing Index: Forecast: n.a. Previous: 651.2. Purchase Index: Forecast: n.a. Previous: 310.5.
  • 8:30 a.m.: Business inventories for September. Source: Census Bureau. Forecast: +0.3%. Previous: +0.7%.
  • 9 a.m.: Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Source: Federal Reserve. The Fed's monetary policymaking committee holds its seventh meeting of the year in Washington. Any change in monetary policy will be announced at around 2:10 p.m.
  • 9 a.m.: Treasury buyback announcement. Source: Bureau of the Public Debt. The Treasury announces the details of tomorrow's reverse auction.
  • 9:15 a.m.: Industrial production for October. Source: Federal Reserve. Forecast: +0.2%. Previous: +0.2%. Capacity Utilization: Forecast: 82.1%. Previous: 82.2%.
  • 6:30 p.m.: Consumer Comfort Index for the week ended Saturday. Source: Money Magazine and ABC News. Forecast: n.a. Previous: 28.