A rush of key economic releases this week and the European Central Bank's last meeting of the year may help set the tone for investors and traders looking ahead to 2014, Reuters reported. Like the two years preceding it, 2013 has been a damp squib for the global economy, beset by political wrangling in the United States, recession in Europe and disappointing growth in China. Economists are optimistic that next year augurs better - even if only slightly - and data this week should point the way towards this gradual improvement. Surveys from the world's No.1 economy are expected to show steady growth in American businesses going into next year, even if few expect much of an improvement. And official data are expected to confirm the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in a year from July through September, although the pace of hiring probably sagged last month.