The Federal Reserve will meet this week to discuss interest rates as Wall Street anxiously watches for clues on the health of the U.S. economy.
Most market watchers expect that the Fed will cut rates again to help jolt the economy into activity. The Fed last lowered rates on Sept. 17 after an unscheduled meeting on concerns that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States would stifle American business.
Economic growth is already slowing down. The nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the value of U.S.-produced goods and services, increased 0.3 percent in the second quarter compared to a 1.3 percent gain in the first quarter.
Things will be quiet on the earnings front as most companies will report second-quarter results in the middle of October, but Research In Motion will announce second-quarter results this Wednesday.
Analysts surveyed by First Call expect the maker of BlackBerry e-mail pagers to make a profit of 4 cents a share compared to a loss of 2 cents during the same quarter a year ago.
Other events scheduled this week:
- The Online Learning Conference takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, Sept. 30-Oct. 3. The event will focus on products for Internet-based education. Companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Macromedia are scheduled to run exhibits.
- Venture capital firm Austin Ventures and public relations firm Shelton Communications Group will host the Silicon Hills Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas, Oct. 1-2. The event features presentations by public and private companies in the semiconductor industry.
- A conference on telecom services for businesses will take place at the Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, Oct. 1-2. The event will focus on how large organizations can control costs on their telecom bills. Representatives from Verizon, the University of Texas, Northwestern University and the State of North Carolina will make presentations.
- Member institutions who participate in Internet2, the high-speed network that connects universities and research organizations, will hold a virtual member meeting online on Oct. 2-5. The Internet-based event was originally scheduled as a face-to-face conference that would take place in Austin, Texas.
- The Internet Telephony Conference takes place at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, Oct. 3-5. The event is for companies and professionals who make products that enable voice communication through the Internet. Companies like Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Intel and Marconi Communications will run exhibits and executives from ADIR Technologies, ICS Advent, Dialpad Communications and Alexis Communications will make keynote speeches.
- Security technology companies Foundstone and Entercept Security Technologies will hold an event on computer hacking in Chicago on Oct. 3. Executives from the companies will talk about hacker threats and the risks that affect business.
- The Supply and Demand Outlook Conference takes place at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 3-5. The gathering is for professionals in the electronics manufacturing industry. Executives from Hewlett-Packard, Solectron, Qualcomm, IBM Global Services, Agilent Semiconductor and Arrow Electronics will make keynote presentations.
- AeA, or the American Electronics Association, a tech industry trade group, will present a lifetime achievement award to Jerry Sanders, the co-founder of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, at its annual dinner, which takes place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Calif., on Oct. 4.
- Microsoft will host Pocket PC 2002 on Oct. 4 at the Concourse in San Francisco with Compaq, HP, Toshiba and Symbol among those expected to talk about products using the new handheld operating system. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer will make at keynote speech.
Apple Computer will give the press a sneak peek of its Palo Alto, Calif., store, the latest of the company-owned retail outlets and the first in Northern California.
- Market Access International will conduct a training conference on performance-based contracts at the NRECA Conference Center in Arlington, Va., Oct 4. The event is for government information technology managers who want to learn about how new federal guidelines requiring performance-based contracts effect their relationship with the technology companies they hire.
Wednesday, Oct. 3
- Research in Motion makes personal wireless communication devices like the BlackBerry e-mail pager. Per-share estimate for the second fiscal quarter: profit of 4 cents.
Monday, Oct. 1
- The National Association of Purchasing Managers index tracks how many hard goods were purchased by purchasing managers. The NAPM index is expected to drop to 45 percent in September from the previous month's 47.9 percent. Index values above 50 indicate an expanding economy, while values below 50 are indicative of contraction.
- Construction spending tabulates the dollar amount of newly completed building structures in a month as reported by the Commerce Department. Analysts expect spending to fall 0.4 percent in August from 0.1 percent in July.
- Personal income shows the monthly percentage change in household income from the Commerce Department. This number is expected to rise 0.3 percent in August compared to a 0.5 percent jump in July.
- The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-setting arm of the Federal Reserve, meets to discuss interest rates. The general consensus on Wall Street is that the FOMC will cut rates.
- The Non-manufacturing NAPM index tracks how many hard goods were bought monthly by purchasing managers in the services industry. Economists expect the index to fall to 43.8 percent in September from 45.5 percent in August.
- Initial Claims refers to the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Claims will be reported for the week of Sept. 29.
- Hourly earnings are the percentage change in hourly earnings in the private sector as estimated monthly by the Labor Department. Earnings are expected to rise 0.3 percent for the month of September, the same increase as August.
- Non-farm Payrolls represents the change in total non-farm employment. Economists expect this number to fall by 100,000 jobs in September compared to a drop of 113,000 in August.
- Unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed adults, as estimated monthly by the Labor Department. Wall Street estimates unemployment will rise to 5 percent in September from 4.9 percent in August.