Week Ahead: Earnings and Consumer Confidence

Investors will be following earnings from a handful of retailers and solar-product manufacturers, with members of both industries expected to broadly report improved results on higher demand.

Trading on NYSE Euronext's (NYSE:NYX) New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) will be closed Monday in observance of President's Day.

The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence in the U.S. for February is due Tuesday, after it reported January's reading grew near levels last seen in May.

Retailers -- including bookstore chain Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS), department-store operators Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M) and Saks Inc. (NYSE:SKS) and casual-apparel retailer Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) will be reporting earnings. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect top- and bottom-line improvement from Macy's, Gap and Saks, as retailers reported mostly strong holiday sales, and January results topped expectations as shoppers largely shrugged off bad weather. Barnes & Noble is expected to report an increase in sales, but a lower profit.

Solar-product manufacturers First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), JA Solar Holdings Co. (NASDAQ:JASO) and Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE:TSL) are also among the companies expected to report results next week. Analysts expect improved top- and bottom-line results from the trio, as the sector benefits from board supply growth, falling solar-panel prices and government incentives. China-based JA Solar and Trina are poised to post larger increases for both measures from year-earlier levels.

The Conference Board's reading on consumer confidence in the U.S. for February is due Tuesday, after it moved in January to 60.6 from the revised 53.3 seen in the prior month. The January reading was well above the 54.4 number expected by economists, leaving the index near levels last seen in May.

Medical-device giant Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) reports early Tuesday for its fiscal third quarter. The company is facing sluggish conditions in top markets, but has some closely watched new products coming online that could help it try to offset these pressures.

Brazil's recently announced federal budget cuts will be detailed fully next week, according to Brazilian Federal Budget Secretary Celia Correa. The South American nation plans to cut roughly $30 billion in spending from the 2011 federal budget as part of its efforts to curb excess demand in the economy, inflation pressure and the need for an elevation of local interest rates.

The Hungarian central bank is likely to leave its policy rate unchanged at 6% on Monday, according to a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 15 investment bank economists. The decision will be the last one of the Monetary Policy Council in its current form as the mandate of four of the seven council members expires by the end of February.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE:SNP), or Sinopec, said Friday it plans to sell CNY23 billion ($3.5 billion) worth of convertible bonds Wednesday, in what would be the largest convertible bond issuance for the Asia-Pacific region since late August. The bond issuance by Asia's biggest refiner by capacity comes as Beijing has been encouraging companies to use the country's corporate bond market to raise funds.