* 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 lead committee on financial regulatory reform in the House of Representatives is expected to approve the last two of eight major regulatory bills.
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.
* 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.
October orders for durable goods are expected to show a modest rise of 0.5 percent. If the forecast is correct, it would be the third rise in four months and show that demand was picking up for big-ticket items.
* It’s a big day for economic data with personal spending and income, consumer sentiment, new home sales and the weekly jobless claims on tap.
D.R. Horton, the second-largest U.S. homebuilder, reports its fourth quarter and fiscal year results. Investors will listen for any comments on the builder’s order trends and commentary as they try to discern whether the nascent housing market recovery will buoy the new home sector.
* Nortel assets hit the auction block. Nokia Siemens Networks and private equity firm One Equity Partners have jointly bid for Nortel Networks Corp’s optical networking and carrier ethernet business, a person familiar with the sale said on Wednesday.
Dell reports quarterly results for the first time as the No. 3 maker of personal computers — unfamiliar territory for a company that not so long ago was the world’s largest PC maker.
* In what promises to be a fiery debate, the Senate Banking Committee begins discussion on Committee Chair Christopher Dodd’s Restoring American Financial Stability Act, a comprehensive bill to reform the financial system.
Home Depot reports quarterly earnings. The top home improvement chain has been banking on a slow-but-steady growth strategy and cost cuts to fight lackluster demand for big-ticket remodeling projects.
* Brian Moynihan, on the short-list of CEO candidates at Bank of America, is expected to testify at a House Oversight Committee hearing.
* Wal-Mart is expected to report higher third-quarter earnings, but Wall Street is focused on U.S. sales, which the retailer has stopped reporting on a monthly basis.
At the Reuters Health Summit expect exclusive interviews with Merck CEO Richard Clark, AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan and Tenet CEO Trevor Fetter.
* Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner begins a two-day official visit to Japan ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation finance ministers’ meeting in Singapore on Thursday.