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-- Wall Street gets back to work after a long holiday weekend on Tuesday and it looks like earnings season still has a few big headlines ahead of it.

Before the opening bell, investors should get good insight into the consumer spending habits with reports from


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, Dow component

Home Depot

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Office Depot

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Barnes & Noble

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. Each one is important for different reasons.

Macy's numbers and outlook should provide a gauge of what level of prices customers have been willing to pay. Were margins squeezed by heavy discounting? Does the company think rising gas prices since January is causing shoppers to spend less?

All eyes will be on the health of the last remaining big book chain as Barnes & Noble's report follows the bankruptcy filing of

Borders Group

, its biggest rival. Questions from Wall Street will include: How is the Nook faring and what sort benefit do they expect from such a seismic change in the competitive landscape?

Office Depot has struggled against its main competition --




Office Max


-- and it's been a very, very slow recovery for small business, so the office products retailer's forecast will be under the microscope.

Then there's Home Depot. The average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

is for a profit of 31 cents a share for the three months ended in January on sales of $14.81 billion. The company typically beats the consensus view by more than 5%, so an in-line profit may not be good enough, especially since the stock is up nearly 28% in the past year, hitting a 52-week high of $38.50 on Friday.

Another factor for Home Depot could be the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which is set to be released at 9 a.m. EST. This report is viewed as pretty reliable by Wall Street, and the last one was dismal. That may actually be good for Home Depot as stagnant home prices tend to make folks stay put, prompting them to spend more on maintenance and improvement of their current homes since there isn't anywhere for them to go. Maybe the company will see a benefit from all the snowstorms with higher sales of shovels and bags of salt as well?

After the market closes, investors will see where things are headed for


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Radio Shack


. Hewlett-Packard has seen weak consumer demand, but has overcome that with a strong business in servers and storage. HP hasn't seen the collapse in its public sector business that


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is experiencing.

Radio Shack tends to be a good barometer on that front on consumer spending, but the company has its own problems to deal with as Jim Gooch takes over as CEO for the departing Julian Day.

This will be Gooch's first conference call as the top man and he's got his work cut out for him convincing Wall Street the company is heading in the right direction. Of the 18 analysts covering the shares, 14 rate them at hold. The average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

is for a profit of 53 cents a share on sales of $1.37 billion in the January period.

Elsewhere on the data front, consumer confidence is out at 10 a.m. EST. If gas keeps going up at the pump, this number will begin coming down.

Speaking of consumers, the annual conference of the Consumer Analysts Group of New York, or CAGNY, begins on Tuesday down in Florida. No big mystery why a New York-based group is headed down to Florida for this event - golf!

Anyway, all the big names will be there, including


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Sara Lee



General Mills

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to name a few.

The talk coming from the presentations is likely to run along a similar theme, namely costs are rising and prices are going up. Now let's hit the links.


Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

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Debra Borchardt


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