Volatile stock market waits for earnings clarity

The U.S. stock market is on track to end the first month of the year with losses as investors reassess what's ahead for public companies impacted by the decline in energy costs, a stronger U.S. dollar and weaker global economy.

"Clearly right now the discussion is all about earnings, especially companies talking about overseas demand, and currency issues facing multinational companies," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery.

With just over 140 S&P 500 companies reporting this week, Wall Street is hearing from a fair amount of companies pinning lowered guidance on the dollar's strength and lackluster demand overseas.

Yet the strong dollar does not hurt everybody, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"Please see Boeing for an example, and McDonald's is doing a little bit better today; we're throwing the baby out with the bath water on the strong dollar story," Hogan said.

"We're probably in a muddle-through zone, as visibility improves as more energy and industrial companies report," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

"We're in a reset mode, so to speak, which involves additional volatility," added Sandven of the market's large swings, which had the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up or down triple digits the last three sessions.