NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- With the G-20 conference wrapped up, investors this week will turn their attention to the all-important U.S. consumer -- as reports show how much they've been buying and how optimistic they are.
As Wal-Mart, Target and other retail giants report quarterly earnings this holiday-shortened week, investors will be closely watching to see how much Americans opened their wallets over the holiday shopping season and how the economy is faring.
If the big retailers disappoint, stocks could head downward, said Kevin Mahn, chief investment officer with Hennion & Walsh.
"I think we're well on our way in the economic recovery, but we need to see if those Americans who held jobs throughout the recession have stopped saving and started spending," said Mahn.
On the agenda
Monday: U.S. markets are closed in observance of the Presidents Day holiday. No economic or company earnings reports are scheduled to be released.
Tuesday: A flurry of retail earnings are due before the market open. Dow members Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) and Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500) are expected to post modest gains from a year ago, with analysts forecasting $1.31 a share for the world's biggest retailer and 31 cents a share for the home-improvement chain.
Wall Street will get a gauge on the real estate market when Case-Shiller releases its home price index at 9 am ET.
The Conference Board will release its February consumer confidence report at 10 am ET. Economists expect it to rise slightly from January, to 67.0.
Next the spotlight turns to real estate, as the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales numbers for January at 10 am. Existing home sales are expected to slip slightly, to 5.23 million units on an annualized basis.
Thursday: Weekly initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 am, and are expected to be unchanged at 410,000. The Census Department's report on durable goods orders is due at the same time; orders are forecasted to rise 3%.
Earnings from Target (TGT, Fortune 500) and department store Kohl's (KSS, Fortune 500) are due before Thursday's opening bell. Analysts are looking for Target to post a profit of $1.40 per share, according to Briefing.com.
The Commerce Department issues its new home sales report at 10 am.
Friday: Wall Street will get a second reading on the U.S.'s fourth-quarter gross domestic product Friday. Economists expect GDP to come in slightly higher at 3.3% growth.
A final read of February's University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey also is on the docket. The index is expected to remain unchanged at 75.1.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.63%||3.68%|
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