The economy may not be in recession but corporate earnings are, and what is forecast to be the worst reporting season in more than six years is about to begin.
But earnings won't be the only catalyst for stocks in the week ahead. It's a busy period with more than a half dozen Fed speakers, and, China, on the back burner lately, could be an issue for markets as it reports a truckload of data — from inflation Monday to GDP and retail sales Friday. Japan's rising yen has made some investors skittish in the past week, and they will certainly be watching Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda when he speaks Tuesday and again in New York on Thursday.
In the coming week, the major banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup report earnings, and the quarterly game of beating the lowered bar begins. This is expected to be the third quarter in a row where S&P 500 earnings actually declined, and analysts are currently expecting a drop of 7.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.