The day ahead: Tuesday


Major automakers are expected to report flat U.S. auto sales for November from a year ago — another sign the industry is on the mend after a bruising downturn that forced extensive restructuring earlier this year. Read preview here.

Other highlights:

*  The U.S. manufacturing sector is expected to have grown in November, but at a slower pace than October, underscoring the fragility of the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index reading is estimated at 55.0 in November. Read preview here.

*  Tuesday is the deadline for shareholders of Norwegian video conferencing system maker Tandberg to accept Cisco’s takeover offer.

*  The Street will look for any signal from Staples of an uptick in sales to small businesses and a report card of the office-products retailer’s performance in the back-to-school season when it reports quarterly results.

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.