Originally created 08/24/04

Wall Street to test rally strength this week



NEW YORK -- After a strong week of gains, investors will look closely at crude oil prices this week as the market attempts to continue rallying.

Stock prices have closely mirrored the changes in crude oil futures, with stocks rising and oil falling, and vice versa. Investors hope slipping oil prices will continue a rally in stocks that brought the Dow Jones industrial average above 10,000 last week.

On Friday, the government is expected to issue a revision to its second-quarter gross domestic product figures, one of the most important gauges of economic health. Lower-than-expected GDP growth would likely be blamed on rising energy prices, and would not bode well for corporate earnings in the third quarter.

Other economic reports due out in the coming week will include durable goods orders - a key report for the manufacturing sector - and sales of new and pre-existing homes.

The vast majority of second-quarter earnings have been reported, though a few companies are due out with earnings in the coming week, including TiVo Inc., Toys R Us Inc., Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., H&R Block and H.J. Heinz Co. None of the reports is likely to have a major market-moving effect, however.