From Reuters.com

The day ahead: Wednesday

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Oil price gains may be starting to help ConocoPhillips’ bottom line, but its fleet of refineries is likely to show the strain when the company reports quarterly earnings.

*  Economic optimists should have a few reasons to cheer from durable goods and housing sales figures — neither of which is expected to be worse than the previous month.

*  A Senate banking subcommittee examines high-frequency trading, naked access and other recent market developments.

*  The impact of the weak economy will loom over the third-quarter results of WellPoint, the largest U.S. health insurer by membership that has been grappling with membership declines as companies lay off workers.

The day ahead: Tuesday

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The Case/Shiller index of housing prices probably improved by 1.4 percentage points to a fall of 11.9 percent in August, extending its recovery from the record low of minus-19 percent set in January.

*  Also due is consumer confidence data for October, which is seen coming in flat at 53.1.

The day ahead: Friday

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Reuters takes an in-depth look at Calpers, the biggest U.S. public pension fund. Find out how the fund is dealing with heavy losses from its plunge into alternative investments.

*  Microsoft’s first quarter results are due, a day after its much-heralded launch of Windows 7.

Graphic: Tiny Dinosaur

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The day ahead: Wednesday

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Expect results from sector heavyweights McDonald’s, AT&T, Merck, 3M and Amazon.com.

*  Microsoft launches Windows 7, hoping the new operating system will erase the memory of Vista.

The day ahead: Wednesday

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Morgan Stanley is expected to break a string of three straight quarterly losses when it reports results but is likely to struggle to match the strong earnings of rival Goldman Sachs.

*  Boeing is expected to report a third-quarter loss tied to charges related to delays for its 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 freighter aircraft.

The day ahead: Tuesday

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Earnings season is in full swing with results expected from Caterpillar, Yahoo, Pfizer and Coca-Cola.

*  In its first quarterly earnings report since announcing the Microsoft search deal, Yahoo will provide important updates about its core display advertising business.

The day ahead: Friday

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Investors have bid up General Electric shares to almost triple their March lows but the largest U.S. conglomerate will have to deliver solid quarterly results for the stock to rise much further.

*  Bank of America may update investors on its search for a new CEO – or at least an “emergency” or “interim” replacement for Ken Lewis when it reports results. Mattel and Halliburton also report quarterly results.

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