NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- The market kicks off the week checking the temperature of Libya, where heavy fighting continued on Sunday night. Rumors have swirled as to whether either Ghadafi's forces or the rebels will try to destroy oil infrastructure. This possibility has contributed to the volatility in oil prices. A key date to keep in mind is March 11 when protesters are working to mount a rally in Saudi Arabia. If this protest doesn't amount to much, a great deal of the fear in the market should dissipate.
It's going to be a quiet week from the standpoint of economic data. A consumer credit report is due at 3 p.m. EST on Monday but its not a terribly important number. The rest of the data comes out later in the week on Thursday and Friday. There are a handful of earnings reports left, and none are really high-profile, market-moving names. Retailers are headlining on Monday with results due from Men's Wearhouse ( MW), J. Crew ( JCG) and Urban Outfitters ( URBN). Urban Outfitters releases its numbers after the bell and the company has been saying that rising cotton prices haven't hurt sales, but that's 2010 sales. The results of higher cotton prices won't be seen until the spring. The stock has been up and down, but with the price of gas rising at the pumps -- apparel purchases are the first to be affected. J. Crew tends to have a customer base with more money so they may not get as hurt with rising costs, but no retailer will be able to escape the effects of cotton prices. For its part, Men's Wearhouse could be a beneficiary of increasing jobs. The stock hasn't had a straight ride up, but it's still a modest gainer over the past year, tacking on 5%. The big event for the week is Tuesday's analyst day for Bank of America ( BAC). Brian Moynihan's banking behemoth hasn't held an event like this since February 2007 when Ken Lewis was still at the helm. Analysts will want more color on mortgage settlements, bank capital levels and litigation disclosure. Bank of America's stock has risen almost 6% since the start of 2011 but with the fiscal first quarter in the home stretch, management will face some grilling about how results are shaping up.
Citigroup ( C) is hosting a financial services conference later in the week as well so expect to hear plenty of commentary on the banks this week. The major U.S. equity indices managed to a slight gain last week but they may be hard-pressed to repeat that performance in the face of higher oil prices and growing investor skittishness about what happens when the Federal Reserve pulls the plug on "QE2." -- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/wallandbroad. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.