An afternoon speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will highlight the calendar Thursday on what will be an otherwise fairly quiet session for economic data and earnings reports.

However, the morning will be worth watching, as weekly initial jobless claims, wholesale inventories and monthly chain-store sales from the nation's retailers arrive.

Bernanke will speak in Washington at 1 p.m. EST on financial markets, the economic outlook and monetary policy.

As for earnings, reports are due from CRA International ( CRAI - Get Report), MSC Industrial ( MSM - Get Report), IHS ( IHS), Shuffle Master ( SHFL) and Synnex ( SNX - Get Report).

On, David Peltier will tell you whether you should buy shares of General Dynamics ( GD - Get Report), and Melissa Davis will explain whether the prospects are improving for Tenet ( THC - Get Report).

This article was written by a staff member of