The market in a minute: Big earnings week «

    The market in a minute: Big earnings week

    Volatility returned to equities during the first full week of trading of 2014, nonetheless, the S&P gained about 0.5%, as markets continued to benefit from improving economic data and, not withstanding Alcoa’s miss, a decent start to earnings season. Several key financial and industrial companies will be reporting this week, likely providing investors enough data to discern short-term market direction.

    The trade

    Hold steady, and let the data guide you. Fourth-quarter earnings expectations are highest for health-care stocks, financials and consumer-discretionary names, as well as Industrial companies. Should earnings in these sectors fall short of expectations, expect a market correction.

    This week’s key reports

    •Monday: The Treasury budget is released

    •Tuesday: JP Morgan /quotes/zigman/272085/delayed/quotes/nls/jpm JPM +0.31% and Wells Fargo /quotes/zigman/239557/delayed/quotes/nls/wfc WFC +0.15% report earnings. Euro-zone industrial-production figures, small-business-optimism index, import/export data and business inventories are reported.

    •Wednesday: Bank of America /quotes/zigman/190927/delayed/quotes/nls/bac BAC +0.37% and CSX Corp /quotes/zigman/223740/delayed/quotes/nls/csx CSX -0.11% report earnings. Producer-price Index data, Empire State manufacturing index, beige book and Atlanta Fed inflation expectations are reported.

    •Thursday: American Express /quotes/zigman/217470/delayed/quotes/nls/axp AXP +0.01% , Citigroup /quotes/zigman/5065548/delayed/quotes/nls/c C +0.37% and Intel /quotes/zigman/20392/delayed/quotes/nls/intc INTC +1.96% report earnings. Jobless claims, the Philly Fed index, and housing data are released.

    •Friday: Cooper Tire & Rubber /quotes/zigman/223162/delayed/quotes/nls/ctb CTB +2.15% , General Electric /quotes/zigman/227468/delayed/quotes/nls/ge GE -0.85% and Schlumberge /quotes/zigman/170324/delayed/quotes/nls/slb SLB -0.81% report earnings. Housing starts, consumer sentiment and the JOLTS (Job Openings and Turnover Statistics) are reported.