The Week Ahead: Into the Belly of the Beast

Earnings season did officially kick off when Alcoa (AA) reported its fourth quarter -- however, investors will be heading into the belly of the earnings beast during this shortened trading week. Because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, more than 490 companies are scheduled to share their quarterly results over the span of four trading days. That means sifting through all sorts of data and matching up forecasts and profit drivers. It also means trying to tune in to as many conference calls as possible of the 260 that are set to take place. 

Still, the lack of domestic economic data should make the earnings gauntlet somewhat more durable. Yes, we'll be getting more on the housing market this week (see below), as well as the regular weekly data streams -- initial and continuing jobless claims, as well as the Mortgage Index from the Mortgage Bankers Association. But the more interesting economic data will come Thursday, when Markit Economics and HSBC are due to release their latest flash PMIs readings for China, the eurozone and the U.S. ...711 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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