While 94 percent of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index have already reported quarterly earnings, this week remains a key week for the retail industry with 24 retailers reporting earnings—12 of which are S&P 500 components.
So far, retail earnings have been mixed. According to Thomson Reuters, S&P Consumer Discretionary blended earnings growth is up 10.8 percent, which is the third strongest sector behind financials, which had a 18.3 percent gain, and telecom, which rose 15.6 percent.
But same-store sales is the key metric for retailers as it measures sales changes for stores in place for at least a year. For the first quarter, aggregate same-store sales are estimated to post anemic growth of 0.7 percent. The barely positive growth is considerably lower than last year's 3.4 percent first-quarter gain.
Wednesday will be a big day from retailers focusing on various specialties within the sector. Before the bell, big-box discounter Target, home improvement retailer Lowe's, specialty apparel retailer American Eagle, and office supply retailer Staples report quarterly results. After the bell, pet-care retailer PetSmart, and specialty apparel retailer L Brands (formerly Limited Brands) report.