As first-quarter earnings wrap up and with some key economic data releases on tap, Eddy Elfenbein, editor of the Crossing Wall Street blog, is watching for three key new items on Tuesday morning.
1. Housing starts data
Monthly U.S. homebuilding data is due out before the bell Tuesday. After a weak number published last month, in which new construction starts posted a month-over-month decline of 6.8 percent, the consensus is a bit brighter this month.
"During the last recession, housing starts completely collapsed, especially for new home sales. It's been improving recently, but we need to see more improvement. It's a general rule that the greater the housing starts, the further away the recession," Elfenbein said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."
Economists polled by Reuters expect 1.26 million new units in April, or an increase of 3.7 percent month over month.
2. Home Depot quarterly earnings
Home Depot reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings Tuesday before the opening bell.
The retailer's earnings and revenue for the period beat analysts' expectations, and the company also raised its fiscal 2017 profit outlook.
Elfenbein was watching the report closely, as its business is so closely tied to other areas "like builders, contractors and do-it-yourself types," that its performance may be indicative of larger economic trends.
Home Depot shares have gained 17 percent year to date.
3. Retail earnings
"Staples has been struggling lately," Elfenbein said, pointing to the company's announcement in March that it planned to close approximately 70 stores in North America this year.
The office products and services retailer reported fiscal first-quarter earnings per share that were in line with estimates while revenue missed.
Meanwhile, TJX has been doing pretty well, Elfenbein said, and "I think it represents who can stand up to Amazon and who can't."
Analysts forecast earnings of 79 cents per share for TJX, per FactSet data.
— CNBC's Lauren Thomas and Reuters contributed to this story.