Corporate earnings on Tuesday from major banks including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo couldn't come soon enough for a stock market that lately has fixated on breached technical levels, signs of a softening global economy and Ebola.
"Lending has been missing in action; the Fed is bound and determined to try and raise inflation, and bank lending is a precursor to inflation," said Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital. "We'll see what earnings have to bring."
On Monday stocks tanked, with the S&P 500 closing below its 200-day moving average and the Nasdaq Composite off 8.6 percent from its September record, continuing a slide that has stocks extending losses into a fourth week.
The "freak out started in technology with comments from the Microchip guy. Tomorrow we get to see if he's right, if it's an early warning sign or just that company has its own issues," Forrest said.
Microchip Technology on Thursday cut its sales outlook for the quarter and its CEO Steve Sanghi said an industry correction had started, prompting investors to flee semiconductor makers.
Intel should shed further light on the sector when it reports third-quarter earnings after Tuesday's close.