The week's economic data--retail sales, business inventories, the producer price index and consumer confidence--may show the economy is starting to perk up.
The Commerce Department will release its January retail sales report Wednesday and offer Wall Street a hint of how consumer spending is holding up. It took a dip of 0.1% in December.
The producer price index--a measure of costs at the factory door and farm gate--will be released by the Labor Department on Friday.
Investors also will be eyeing reports on business inventories, industrial production, jobless claims and consumer confidence--hoping for more hints the economy is on the path to recovery.
Investors also are pinning their hopes on upbeat news from companies slated to report quarterly results this week, including Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
More stock analysts are raising earnings estimates than cutting them for the first time in 15 months--a hint the worst of the market drops may be over.
Upward revisions to annual earnings rose to 51% of the total in the week ended Jan. 25, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call. Not since the first week of November 2000 had estimate increases outnumbered reports slashing forecasts.
More than 80%, or more than 410, of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 have reported quarterly earnings so far, and a few more results will straggle in this week.
Companies slated to post their results include Applied Materials Inc. and Viacom Inc.
Other economic data due this week:
* Thursday, the Labor Department will report on prices of imported goods in January.
* Thursday, the Commerce Department will report on business inventories in December.
* Friday, the Federal Reserve will report on industrial production in January.
* Friday, the University of Michigan will issue its preliminary survey of consumer confidence for February.