Retail, tech are top calendar themes

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Today's event calendar focuses on retail in the morning and technology in the afternoon.

The Commerce Department will release January retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect gains of 0.1 percent for both the overall number and the reading that excludes volatile automobile sales.

Sales rose 0.5 percent overall in December and 0.3 percent excluding autos. Figures significantly above 0.1 percent would probably trigger a bullish reaction, while lower results could hurt market sentiment.

Also before the bell, at 7 a.m. ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association will report weekly loan applications. At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department will publish inventory data crude oil, which could affect companies in the energy sector.

Two major technology companies report earnings after the closing bell: networking giant Cisco Systems and semiconductor-equipment maker Applied Materials. Their results could affect trading tomorrow, especially for the Nasdaq 100.

Japan will release gross domestic-product figures late tonight, while Germany, France, Italy, and the Eurozone follow with similar news early tomorrow morning.

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