A Washington appearance by the

Federal Reserve

chief and earnings from a carmaker and an entertainment giant will help set the tone for the trading session Thursday.

Starting early in the day, all eyes will be on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will discuss the economic outlook before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

Bernanke's comments are coming during a busy week for central bank officials, and traders will parse everything he says for hints about rates and the perceived health of the U.S. financial system.

The earnings calendar will feature

Ford

(F) - Get Report

,

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

,

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

,

Barr Pharmaceuticals

( BRL),

Cablevision

(CVC)

,

Dynegy

(DYN)

and

Urban Outfitters

(URBN) - Get Report

, among others.

As for economic data, only the weekly initial jobless claims report is scheduled.

On

TheStreet.com

, Ted Reed will take a look at how fuel prices are weighing on airline stocks like

AMR

(AMR)

and

UAL

( UAUA), and Melissa Davis will examine the recent goings-on at

WellCare

(WCG) - Get Report

.

Also, David Peltier will tell you whether you should buy or take a pass on

Dover

(DOV) - Get Report

.