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This is the next thing that could rock stocks

What will earnings tell us?

Earnings season may not give investors that warm and fuzzy feeling this quarter.

For the first time in six years, earnings are in a real decline, expected to be negative with a 2.9 percent drop in net income, according to Thomson Reuters. That comes as price-to-earnings ratios, or valuations, are at the highest levels in a decade, and the question is whether those are weak earnings already priced in to the market.

The first big wave of earnings reports is expected in the week ahead, with major banks and financials, like J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and American Express, and other blue chips like Intel and Johnson & Johnson.