Stocks: All eyes on jobs

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The state of the job market will be front and center this week, but a smattering of other U.S. economic data and corporate earnings will also be in play.

A look at labor: Several key reports on the nation's employment picture are due out throughout the week, including ADP's snapshot on employee payrolls and Challenger's job cuts.

The main event comes Friday, when the labor department releases its monthly jobs report and unemployment rate.

Economists surveyed by are expecting the number of nonfarm payrolls to have decreased to 175,000 in July from 195,000 a month earlier, and the unemployment rate to fall to 7.5% from 7.6%.

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The numbers are likely to be scrutinized by investors even more closely than usual, coming close on the heels of signals from the Federal Reserve that it will start pulling back on stimulus measures if the economy improves. Recently, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has said the central bank could start tapering its bond purchases by the end of the year.

Other economic news: Beyond the jobs report, investors will digest an advance estimate on second quarter gross domestic product, which is due out Wednesday, as is the Federal Open Market Committee's decision on interest rates.

Auto sales, consumer confidence, the Case-Shiller 20 city index, pending home sales, and personal income and spending are also on tap.

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More earnings: A few major companies are also set to report earnings this week, including Herbalife (HLF), Sprint (JZK) and Exxon Mobil. (XOM)

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq ended higher, while the S&P 500 was little changed.

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