What's the rumpus?

Well, in true earnings season fashion, a number of top guns are set to report quarterly profit results today. Among the heavily armed are telecom companies

Corning

(GLW) - Get Corning Inc Report

and

WorldCom

(WCOM)

.

According to an 18-analyst consensus,

WorldCom

(WCOM)

is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share, down from 44 cents a share in the year-ago period. Shares traded up 84 cents to finish at $19.39 Wednesday.

Corning, on the other hand, traded down Wednesday after

UBS Warburg

gave Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

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the

high hat. Shares of Corning traded down 72 cents to $21.98 Wednesday.

In economic news, the first-quarter

Employment Cost Index is due out before the bell. Among economists, the data are considered to be the single most important measure of inflation. It should have a significant impact on today's market.

The

initial jobless claims, a timely gauge of labor market conditions, is also slated for release.

And be sure to check out the

complete list of today's earnings announcements.

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.: Employment Cost Index for Q1 '01. Source: Labor Department. Forecast: +1.1%. Previous: +0.8%.
  • 8:30 a.m.: Initial Jobless Claims for the week ended April 21. Source: Labor Department. Forecast: 387,000. Previous: 385,000. Four-week average: Forecast: n.a. Previous: 382,250.
  • 10 a.m.: Help-wanted Index for March. Source: Conference Board. Forecast: n.a. Previous: 71.
  • 11 a.m.: Treasury buyback. Source: Bureau of the Public Debt. The Treasury buys securities specified Wednesday from dealers.