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Earnings, data step up to plate

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Earnings, data step up to plate

On the heels of Royal Dutch Shell’s big deal in the oil patch and General Electric saying goodbye to its finance units last week, Wall Street turns its eyes to this week’s flurry of corporate earnings reports and flood of economic data that could provide insight on the economy’s health.2013-11-04T131020Z_8_CBRE99U0VX000_RTROPTP_3_MARKETS-STOCKS_original

The stock market is coming off its second straight week of gains, and its next move will be determined by how the data come in and what corporate CEOs say about the earnings outlook for the rest of 2015. Heading into today’s session, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was less than 1% below its March 2 all-time record close of 2117.39.

A wintry mess, sinking oil prices and a rising dollar have weighed on the economy and earnings in the first three months of 2015. Analysts are expecting the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index to post its first contraction in quarterly earnings in almost six years when first-quarter profit reports are all tallied up. Next week is a big one for earnings, with big banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup all reporting first-quarter results starting Tuesday. Other market bellwethers slated to report profit results this week include chipmaker Intel, health care giant Johnson & Johnson, video-streaming service Netflix and oil field services play Schlumberger.

There’s also a lot of fresh economic data set for release. Wall Street gets March readings on inflation at both the consumer and wholesale levels. Other big data points include March retail sales and industrial production, as well as April reports on consumer confidence and regional manufacturing.

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