"These themes that have been the drivers of performance in the past six months, I'm seeing them disappear," O'Rourke said. "The question is where is the new leadership coming from with the better performing sector year to date—utilities." Utilities are up more than 8 percent year to date, followed by health care, up 3.3 percent.
Most analysts don't foresee a major correction though choppiness could continue.
"The tapering wasn't the disaster traders thought it was, and it still isn't the disaster traders thought it was," said Ezrati. "The nonsense that the economy was beginning to accelerate was realized to be just nonsense."
He said as valuations shakeout in bubbly Internet and biotech names, there are groups of stocks he still likes. "We still see value in cyclically sensitive names—industrials, technology, consumer discretionary as opposed to the staples."
Adams and others say the combination of the Fed's tapering of its bond-buying program with a lack of consistently strong economic data has left the market looking elsewhere for a catalyst.
"It's time to transition to some real force of earnings growth. ... We expect a choppy market anyway because the Fed is shifting gears. I think you have to expect this could be a pretty difficult period because the Fed is shifting gears, and then it's up to earnings and the strength of earnings gains to drive the market," she said.
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Capital spending will be watched closely. "Our expectation is that the consumer while not out of the game, they're not likely to drive the next earnings growth," she said.
"It's got to come from capital spending. Sectors like technology, industrials and materials are going to have to have to show an improving outlook in this earnings period, and it's about their forward-looking commentary. Myself and investors are expecting first-quarter earnings to be fairly ugly.
This is a quarter where companies are going to take the easy excuse where they can and when it comes to forward guidance that excuse has faded and it's time to pony up."
Adams said a sector she likes now is chemicals. During periods where valuation fades as a driver for stocks, chemical companies are among the most profitable.
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Alcoa is the first major company out of the gate for the first quarter. It is expected to report a profit of 5 cents per share, 53 percent below last year's level. Revenues are expected to drop 5 percent to $5.55 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
Earnings for the S&P 500 are expected to grow by just 1.1 percent this quarter, and revenues are expected to rise 2.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.