Earnings news, especially from Apple, could stir up a market that's waiting for the Fed.
Stocks closed mixed Monday after a day of quiet trading. The Dow was off 23 points at 17,623, and the S&P 500 slid 3 to 2,071. The Nasdaq rose 2 to 5,034.
The market could tread water again Tuesday, as the Fed begins its two-day meeting where it is expected to hold off on an interest rate rise. The central bank releases its post-meeting statement at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and it is expected to leave the door open for the chance of a December rate hike.
"I think we had some outstanding results with good earnings from Google and Microsoft and people are seeing if that's going to translate into the rest of the market," said Randy Frederick, managing director, trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.
In addition to Apple, there's a parade of blue chips including early morning reports from drugmakers — Pfizer, Merck and Bristol-Myers. Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, also reports, as do DuPont, Ford, UPS, BP, Cummins, Corning, Coach, Novartis, JetBlue, AK Steel, and Alibaba — all ahead of the bell. Twitter, Gilead Sciences, Shutterfly, Owens-Illinois, Panera Bread, Equity Residential, KKR and TransUnion all report after the close.
There are also several important economic reports, including durable goods at 8:30 a.m. ET, S&P Case-Shiller home prices at 9 a.m. and consumer confidence at 10 a.m.
"The market has gone up 10 percent in three weeks and that's pretty significant. There's a Fed meeting. There's a slim chance the Fed will move," said Frederick. "We've got the debt ceiling that's going to show up next week, so that could be coming into play."
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that IAC/Interactive does not report earnings Tuesday.