Despite a series of economy data points that would seem to indicate that US growth has been slowing, investors may be waiting before they get worried. But if data comes in weak over the next two weeks, the wait could be over.
"This week's going to be an interesting one, because the economic data that's come out has been a little goofy, and yet the market just keeps pushing higher here," said Brian Stutland of the Stutland Volatility Group.
Indeed, the S&P booked only a slight loss in the past week, despite the fact that several important economic numbers have fallen short of expectations.
Existing home sales in January were nearly nonexistent, with the Friday-released number missing expectations and coming in at an 18-month low. A similarly bad housing number came on Wednesday, when the Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell 16 percent in January.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index came in at negative 7.3, indicating worsening conditions as if fell far short of estimates. Tuesday's Empire State manufacturing survey also disappointed.
Bad economic news was even reflected in earnings, when Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported that same store sales fell 0.4 percent, and full-year guidance came in below expectations.
All of this negative news has besieged investors already wary after the last two jobs reports, which have shown job growth coming in sharply below expectations for both December and January.
What remains unclear is just how much of this bad news is due to the spate of bad winter weather, rather than an actual slowing of growth. But as data comes in over the next two weeks, that question should be answered.