The day ahead: Thursday


Great things are not expected from September retail sales data as rising unemployment weighs on consumers.

*  Retailers probably saw sales decline again in September, signaling weak demand leading into the holiday season.

*  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives an update on the Fed’s balance sheet.

*  PepsiCo reports third-quarter results.

*  European Central Bank and Bank of England report interest rate decisions.

The day ahead: Wednesday


Third-quarter earnings season kicks off with Dow-component Alcoa. For companies in the S&P 500, expectations are low.

* Companies on the S&P are expected to show an overall earnings decline of almost 25 percent, according to Thomson Reuters research. Reporting on Wednesday are Alcoa, Monsanto, Family Dollar Stores and Costco.

Graphic: Lunar impact


NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission will come to a dramatic conclusion on Friday, with the impact of its Centaur upper stage rocket and Shepherding Spacecraft into a crater near the moon’s south pole.

Graphic: Thin-film solar cells


Dow Chemical plans to sell a new rooftop shingle next year that converts sunlight into electricity and can be integrated with standard asphalt shingles. It is expected to generate $5 billion in revenue by 2015. For more Green Business news click here.

Can France accept a food and wine critique from America?

Michael Steinberger says he is just a concerned friend sending a message to France. Steinberger, the wine critic for online magazine Slate says in his book “Au Revoir To All That. Food, Wine and the End of France” the nation that spawned food revolutions worldwide is in dire need of help to renew its own passion for good cuisine.

An avowed Francophile, he isn’t surprised the book doesn’t have a French publisher. “My hope has always been that it would be published in France. I don’t think the book can in any way be read as being somehow anti-French. I think it is a love letter to France from a concerned friend,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

The day ahead: Tuesday


As the largest initial public offering on a U.S. exchange in 18 months, the share sale of Banco Santander (Brazil) will likely attract plenty of demand even as some investors balk at the price of the stock.

* Santander’s Brazilian unit is expected to launch a $8.78 billion IPO, the largest U.S.-listed offering in 18 months.

Graphic: Rio de Janeiro’s winning bid


View a larger version of this graphic here.

Follow the live blog on the Olympic decision.

The day ahead: Friday


Jobs numbers are key to gauging the strength of an economic recovery although some see the September data as being bolstered by government spending programs.

*  Non-farm payrolls for September probably fell by the smallest amount in a year, more proof the economy is pulling out of recession, but the jobless rate likely ticked up.

The day ahead: Thursday


Consumer spending is in the spotlight with U.S. auto sales and personal income and outlays data expected.

*  Auto sales probably fell in September back to the nearly three-decade lows of early 2009 without government incentives to spur buying.