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Coming Week: More Data, More Trouble

Stocks in this article: CAT MCD BA

With the presidential inauguration in the rear-view mirror, investors must now roll up their sleeves and get to work on sorting through a glut of earnings releases and economic data expected in the coming week.

Oh, and President Barack Obama's $825 billion stimulus plan will go to a vote in Congress, and the confirmation of Treasury secretary nominee Timothy Geithner is anticipated.

If you thought this holiday-shortened week was a wild ride for the stock market, the worst may be yet to come.

"Next week is going to be a very busy week," says Chip Hanlon, president of Delta Global Advisors. "There's a lot of data and all of it is expected to be crummy. The only question is whether it's a little less crummy than expected. And that possibility exists. It's possible we could see a little relief if we see some data that's not quite as bad as we're expecting."

Perhaps the biggest catalyst for the stock market will be the proposed stimulus plan, which overcame a significant hurdle Thursday when it was passed by the House Appropriations Committee. The Senate Finance Committee said it will consider the package on Tuesday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expects to bring the plan to the floor this week. President Obama says that Congress is on target to approve the plan by the President's Day holiday on Feb. 16.

"The market has been looking forward to getting this stimulus package out of the way for quite some time. How long have we been talking about this?" asked Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist with Windham Financial. "The market reacts negatively to uncertainty, and this has been what has put it under pressure."

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