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Earnings dominate this week's news

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Attention focuses to corporate news this week amid a slow economic calendar.

Earnings season gets under way with Alcoa's quarterly numbers after the closing bell today. While earnings reports don't get really heavy until later in the month, the news will likely remain active because some companies will pre-announce results.

There are no economic headlines until Wednesday, when the Mortgage Bankers Association announces weekly loan applications and the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its last meeting.

Attention then shifts to retailers on Thursday as companies release same-store sales for March. The Labor Department will also announce weekly jobless claims that day.

Friday keeps the attention on consumers as the Commerce Department issues national retail sales and the University of Michigan announces its consumer sentiment index. Financial giant JP Morgan will also report earnings Friday morning.

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