The day ahead: Thursday


When U.S. retail chains report November sales, investors will learn whether they have gone far enough to protect profits against a weak start to the holiday shopping season.


*  President Barack Obama holds a forum on job creation with U.S. business leaders to devise ways to combat double-digit unemployment.

*  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke vowed before taking office to follow in the footsteps of his storied predecessor, Alan Greenspan, but he will likely distance himself from the past when he testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in a bid to win confirmation to a fresh four-year stint at the helm of the U.S. central bank.

*  At the Reuters Media Summit, being held in  New York and London, we hear from Google President Global Sales Operations and Business Development Nikesh Arora and Take-Two Interactive Chairman Strauss Zelnick.

The day ahead: Wednesday


Indications of what markets might expect from Friday’s non-farm payrolls report could emerge from the ADP National Employment private sector survey and the November Challenger Layoff report.

Other highlights:

*  The lead committee on financial regulatory reform in the House of Representatives is expected to approve the last two of eight major regulatory bills.

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.