Market Insider

Here's what will drive stocks this week

Next week's market movers: Domm

It's make or break time for corporate profits, with dozens of companies—from Facebook to Ford— reporting in the week ahead.

The pressure is on for those earnings to support the market's current valuations, after weeks of choppy trading. It's also crunch time to see whether it really was the harsh winter weather that slowed profit growth—and the economy—or something else.

"Does spring make a difference? And in what industries does it make a difference? If that doesn't come across, it may raise some confusion about what the economic data is telling us," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS.

About 150 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to release quarterly results through Friday, in an earnings season that has been so far mediocre, though nearly two-thirds of companies are beating Wall Street estimates. On the economic front, there is housing data with existing home sales Tuesday and new home sales Wednesday, and durable goods are reported Thursday.

Developments in Ukraine will also be watched, after signs of progress Thursday. Diplomats negotiating in Geneva announced an agreement to refrain from violence on all sides, disarm militants and release seized buildings.

Corporate profits though will be the key test for a stock market that ended the past week higher, after a violent shakeout in high flying biotech and tech momentum names. Nasdaq, down the prior three weeks, ended the week more than 1 percent higher at 4095, after coming to the brink of correction territory with a total 9.7 percent decline by Tuesday.

The Dow, off slightly Friday, was up 2.4 percent for the week at 16,408, and the S&P 500 ended the four-day trading week up 2.7 percent, at 1864.

Read More Will Good Friday Lead to a Better Monday?

"If earnings are there, the market should be able to rally through it," said Jack Ablin, CIO of BMO Private Bank. "If we can get through earnings season, we can focus on the economy and that should be good news. I think the economy is going to grow faster than some people think."

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images

But traders have been concerned earnings are not there, profit growth is sluggish and the concern is that some of the weakness is not merely explained away by the winter weather impact. Some high profile earnings misses include Google, IBM and J.P. Morgan.

Dupont was one of those blaming its earnings miss in part on weather, as farmers delayed planting in the first quarter. But it expects some agricultural sales to be made up in the second quarter, as weather improves.

Read More Earnings beats help soften hit from big tech misses

"There's still a gap between the expectations in stock prices and where we currently are (with earnings)…I guess we have to pay the price of last year's gains," Ablin said. The S&P 500 was up about 30 percent last year, and as of Thursday, the S&P 500 was up just 0.9 percent for 2014.

Ablin also pointed to Thursday's lack of gains in stocks even though there were a lot of earnings beats. "To me that's emblematic of a market that's fully priced with a lot of expectations priced in. I do think we're getting a rotation to tangible value. We're on that side of the canoe right now," he said.

He is watching McDonald's earnings for what it says about the global economy, and the momentum names will also be important since their still lofty valuations are in doubt. Netflix reports Monday, Gilead reports Tuesday, Facebook and Zynga report Wednesday, and reports Thursday.

Some analysts believe the hot corner of the market has corrected. "As far as the correction is concerned, I think we're halfway through with the Dow and the S&P. As far as the Nasdaq is concerned, I think we're finished with the correction there," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

Read MoreBuy stocks, S&P headed above 2,000: Ed Yardeni

Citigroup chief U.S. equities strategist Tobias Levkovich said the earnings story will ultimately be a good one this year, and he does not expecte it to be a good year to follow the old adage "sell in May" and go away, as earnings should improve.

"Credit conditions, hiring intentions and capital spending plans all suggest that GDP will strengthen in the coming months, reversing the weather effects seen in 1Q14," he wrote in a note. "While some observers have focused on inventory swings as a factor in the first quarter's weakness, much of this was predictable and thus should not be a major source of worry."

What to watch


Earnings: Hasbro, Kimberly-Clark, SunTrust, Bancorp South, Netflix, Celanese


Earnings: Comcast, McDonald's, Travelers, Simon Property Group, Omnicom, Xerox, United Tech, Amgen, AT&T, Canadian national Railway, CR Bard, Discover Financial, Gilead Sciences, Cree, International Gaming, Juniper Networks, Intuitive Surgical, Yum Brands, Illinois Tool Works, AK Steel, Allegheny Tech, Carlisle, Lockheed Martin, Lexmark, Harley-Davidson, Canadian Pacific Railway, Bank of NY Mellon

9:00 a.m.: FHFA home prices

10:00 a.m.: Existing home sales

10:00 a.m.: Richmond Fed

1:00 p.m.: $32 billion 2-year Treasury auction


Earnings: Boeing, Procter and Gamble, Facebook, Ericsson, Northrop Grumman, Norfolk Southern, Dow Chemical, Owens Corning, TD Ameritrade, Ryder Systems, Tupperware, WR Grace, Omnicare, LPL Financial, Johnson Controls, Ingersoll-Rand, EMC, F5 Networks, ETrade, Zynga, Xilinx, Texas Instruments, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Delta Airlines, Air Products, Biogen Idec, Raymond James, Morningstar, Safeway, Stryker, Qualcomm

8:58 a.m.: Manufacturing PMI

10:00 a.m.: New home sales

1:00 p.m.: $35 billion 5-year Treasury auction


Earnings: Microsoft,, Caterpillar, Verizon, 3M, General Motors, UPS, United Continental, Timken, Starbucks, Freeport-McMoRan, Entergy, Jet Blue, Hershey, Imax, Noble Energy, Under Armour, T. Rowe Price, Stanley Black and Decker, Starwood, Broadcom, Applied Micro Nasdaq OMX, KKR, Peabody Energy, Potash, PulteGroup, Raytheon, Quest Diagnostics, Occidental Petroleum, NY Times, Novartis, Nucor, Altria, AstraZeneca, Amerisource Bergen, Alexion Pharma, Avnet, Brunswick, Bemis, Cabot Oil and Gas, Delphi Automotive, Eli Lilly, Dunkin Brands, DR Horton, Celgene, Pandora

8:30 a.m.: Weekly claims

8:30 a.m.: Durable goods

11:00 a.m.: Kansas City Fed survey

1:00 p.m.: $29 billion 7-year Treasury auction


Earnings: Ford, Colgate-Palmolive, Goodyear Tire, Honda Motors, Moody's, Covidien, VF Corp, Weyerhaeuser, Dana Holding, Tyco, WPP Group, State Street, AON, American Electric Power

8:58 a.m.: Services PMI

9:55 a.m.: Consumer sentiment

—By CNBC's Patti Domm. Follow her on Twitter @pattidomm.