When companies begin reporting fourth-quarter results in the middle of January, their tone could also give markets a reality check.
"There could be some disappointment in the fourth quarter results relative to the current outlook," said Brett Reiner, co-portfolio manager of the Neuberger Berman Genesis Fund, which focuses on small-cap stocks. Reiner added that management would likely discuss a more moderate business environment than markets seem to be expecting.
But corporate earnings appear to be turning around. In the third quarter, the S&P 500 ended four straight quarters of earnings-per-share declines. Earnings-per-share are expected to rise 4.28 percent in the fourth quarter, to net zero annual growth for all of 2016, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
They're expected to rise 11.87 percent in 2017, and slow to 8.01 percent growth in 2018, S&P said.
Meanwhile, economists generally see the U.S. growing less than 3 percent in each of the next two years.
"We've yet to accumulate enough tangible evidence we can finally believe in the market expectation of significantly stronger growth in 2017," said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's.