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Add a rocky earnings season to witches' brew of a market

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Third-quarter earnings season may deliver a few bumps of its own to a market that is having a hard time looking past the political drama in Washington.

Earnings season officially starts in the coming week with the report of the first Dow component, JPMorgan, on Friday. Former Dow component Alcoa reports earnings Tuesday, but it passed the baton of having its report mark the start of quarterly reporting season when it got removed from the Dow last month.

The Fed will be a major focus in the week ahead, with more than half a dozen Fed officials speaking, and the minutes from the last Fed meeting are released on Wednesday. Traders are hoping for insight into the decision to maintain its $85 billion monthly bond purchases and clues as to when it might start tapering its buying.