The coming week kicks off on Halloween, but traders say what would really spook the market is a string of big earnings misses or a poor October jobs number.

"It's apropos that the week begins on Halloween, because October has truly been a fright-filled month," says Randy Diamond, sales trader at Miller Tabak. "It's also the beginning of another heavy week of earnings releases, and traders are getting tired of playing trick or treat. It's been a volatile and tiring earnings period, to say the least."

The earnings onslaught resumes on Monday with quarterly reports from FTI Consulting ( FCN), Humana ( HUM), Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) and Kellogg ( K).

On Tuesday, the earnings spotlight will shine on the likes of Viacom ( VIA), Charter Communications ( CHTR) and Marsh & McLennan ( MMC).

Those still hungry for more earnings on Tuesday can take a bite out of releases from Panera Bread ( PNRA) and Papa John's International ( PZZA).

Consumer products giants Colgate-Palmolive ( CL) and Procter & Gamble ( PG) also will be releasing results. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect Colgate-Palmolive to post earnings of 67 cents a share, up from 28 cents a year ago, on revenue of $2.85 billion. For P&G, analysts project earnings of 76 cents a share, compared with 73 cents last year, and revenue of $15.63 billion.

Wednesday's highlights include reports from Beazer Homes ( BZH), Credit Suisse Group ( CSR), Las Vegas Sands ( LVS) and Activision ( ATVI).

Cigna ( CI) also will report on Wednesday. Analysts are looking for the company to earn $1.62 a share, down from the $1.77 Cigna posted last year, on sales of $4.04 billion.

The earnings frenzy continues Thursday with more than 300 public companies releasing results. Among some of the notable names on the docket are American Tower ( AMT), Clorox ( CLX), Harrah's Entertainment ( HET) and Revlon ( REV).

Also reporting on Thursday will be Sara Lee ( SLE), Sunoco ( SUN) and Imax ( IMAX).

The action subsides a bit on Friday, but there should still be some stirrings following earnings announcements from companies including Checkpoint Systems ( CKP), KeySpan ( KSE) and Fortune Brands ( FO).

Wild Oats Markets ( OATS) will also be coming public with its results Friday. Analysts expect the company to earn 2 cents a share, reversing its loss of 13 cents a share last year, on revenue of $280 million.

Fed Ahead

The heavy earnings calendar won't be the only thing keeping traders busy next week. There is also some heavy duty economic data on the docket, as well as a Fed policy announcement.

Personal spending and income numbers for September arrive on Monday morning before the bell. Economists project spending increased 0.5%, compared with the August drop of 0.1%. Income is expected to rise 0.4%, a turnaround from the drop of 0.1% the prior month.

The Chicago PMI report for October also will be released on Monday, with economists looking for the index to drop to 57.2 from 60.5 in September.

On Tuesday, auto sales figures for October will be released, and they should shed some light on General Motors' ( GM) plight. According to Wachovia economist John Silvia, however, the big economic number that morning will be the September ISM index, which economists expect to fall to 57 from 59.4 in September.

"Other than the jobs report, the ISM will be the lead number for the week, because the market needs to see the manufacturing sector continuing to move ahead," says Silvia.

Of course, no matter the direction of the ISM figure, it won't arrive in time to affect the Fed policy announcement, which is set for 2 p.m. that day. In what will be Chairman Alan Greenspan's third-to-last meeting before giving way to successor Ben Bernanke, economists are nearly unanimously sure that the Fed will raise the overnight lending rate for a 12th straight time.

"Despite the fact that the Fed decision won't be much of a surprise, you still need to pay attention to the statement considering everything that's going on now like the hurricanes and high CPI numbers," says Rich Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research.

Factory orders for September and the October ISM services index are set for release on Thursday. Economists estimate the ISM services index to come in at 57, up from 53.3 in September.

October non-farm payrolls should be Friday's biggest market mover. Economists surveyed by Thomson First Call estimate that 125,000 jobs were added, a significant jump from the 35,000 job losses in September.

"Like every month, the jobs number is by far the most important, but this one will be tough to decipher, considering all the messiness surrounding Katrina and Rita," says Yamarone.

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