OPEN SKIESMar. 30A landmark U.S.-European Union agreement on transatlantic travel is set to take effect today. It allows EU airlines to fly from anywhere in the 27-nation bloc to any city in the U.S. and vice versa.

EUROPEAN MANUFACTURINGApr. 1, 10 a.m.The March Purchasing Managers' Index is expected to have dropped to 52.0. While any reading above 50 indicates growth, this is pretty weak.

BORDERING ON RECESSIONApr. 1, 10 a.mThe Institute for Supply Management survey reading for March is forecast to drop to 48.0, a figure that would signal the U.S. economy is close to falling into recession.

MONSANTO (MON)Apr. 2, 9:30 a.m.The agricultural-products company reports its second-quarter earnings, which are expected to be up from 46 cents to $1.35 per share. Still, declining grain and soybean sales have slowed growth.

THE FEDApr. 2, 9:30 a.m.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the congressional Joint Economic Committee on the economic outlook. The JEC will focus on whether the U.S. is in a recession or heading into one. Bernanke will likely face questions on additional measures to deal with the financial crisis.

BEST BUY (BBY)Apr. 2, 12 p.m.The consumer-electronics chain reported a surprising 52% increase in third-quarter profits, and analysts predict more of the same for Best Buy's fiscal 2008 fourth quarter. Earnings are expected to more than double, to $1.66 per share.

RESEARCH IN MOTION (RIMM)Apr. 2, 5 p.m.The BlackBerry maker continues to struggle against Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, and third-quarter results were below expectations. Earnings per share are expected to increase only slightly for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, going up to 70 cents, from 65 cents.

EUROPE RETAIL SALESApr. 3, 11 a.m.Retail sales rose 0.4% month-over-month in January, and analysts expect consumer confidence to improve. However, disposable income and overall consumption trends continue to be weighed down by pricier food and gas, a slowing housing market, and tightening lending standards.

FAMILY DOLLAR STORES (FDO)Apr. 4Second-quarter earnings should reach 42 cents at the discount retailer. Same-store sales have shown some improvement but ongoing pressure from the economy and strapped consumers continue to slow growth.

EMPLOYMENTApr. 4, 8:30 a.m.March nonfarm payrolls are expected to drop 30,000, but the unemployment rate is likely to increase slightly, to 5.0%. These figures indicate a weak job market and show signs of a recession with first-quarter GDP estimates in negative territory.

Times shown are local

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