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Retail sales lead economic calendar

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Today's main economic release is September retail sales, which is expected to show a modest slowing from the previous month.

Economists predict a gain of 0.7 percent, down from 0.9 percent in August. A significantly stronger reading could increase demand for stocks, while a poor number could have the opposite effect. The Commerce Department will release the data at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the market opens.

The New York Federal Reserve is scheduled to issue its Empire State manufacturing index at the same time. Forecasters expect a reading of -3, compared with a -10 reading in September. While it provides some clues on the U.S. economy, the index seldom moves the market.

Earnings will gain importance as the week continues, with reports from major companies such as Bank of America, General Electric, and Honeywell. Tomorrow night's second presidential debate  could also affect sentiment, as could German's Zew survey of investor confidence early tomorrow morning.

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