Companies such as Apple, Boeing, Caterpillar and Microsoft are all releasing their quarterly numbers this week. But coming after a week that saw a major global selloff in stocks, the worry is that even if results are positive, it won't offset fears that the coming months will be bad for the markets.
This quarter's earnings come amid a tenuous technical backdrop. The S&P 500 index breaking below key support at its 200-day moving average last week and the number of stocks making 52-week lows is growing.
But there is a different indicator that has one technician particularly worried.
According to Todd Gordon, founder of TradingAnalysis.com, one key technical level to watch is a trend line that began three years ago.
Gordon's chart work indicates that should the S&P 500's support level at 1,800 fail, "you have further declines to come, which would be around 1,570 to 1,600." The lower levels not only follow a bottom trend line that began in 2011, it also matches the precredit crisis highs. "Again, it's dependent on 1,800 giving way," said Gordon.
(See: CNBC's Earnings coverage)
However, while many are looking at earnings growth, Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, is focusing more on revenues. And that may not work to the market's favor.
"I'm paying attention to the sales numbers," said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. "Sales numbers really haven't shown a whole lot. And we still have seen a couple of bellwethers like Wal-Mart and Ford that have had some pretty gloomy forecasts for the end of the year."