Intel guidance won't help stocks; will the CPI?

With concern about deflation roiling global markets, Wall Street will be paying even more attention to usual to Friday's consumer price index, or CPI.

"We'd like to see a modicum of inflation, excluding food and energy. What we don't want to see is deflation," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

The economy works best with some inflation, compared to deflation, which tends to cause people to delay making purchases or thinking what they want to buy might be even cheaper in the future, Hogan explained.

The CPI "will inform us how close we are to the Fed not taking action, or taking action," Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital, said.

Investors on Friday will also react to quarterly earnings from computer-chip manufacturer Intel, which topped earnings and revenue estimates, but came in short on first-quarter guidance.

"We're back to earnings matter. We want to hear narrative on what is going to happen next, how sales will be in the next quarter," Forrest said.

"Intel is a core part of technology, for both consumer and business, so what they have to say matters. Their view into the next half of the year is huge," Forrest said.

What Intel had to say in its conference call with investors "will speak to its progress in getting more into mobile, and expectations for gross margins for the rest of 2015. That speaks to the health of the hardware industry in general," Hogan said.

Among the best performing technology stocks in 2014, "it's becoming a new bellwether," he added.