Inflation may have stolen the headlines Friday, but earnings will dominate next week's action. "The market needs a catalyst right now with all this bad news weighing on it," says Brian Williamson, equity trader at Boston Company Asset Management. "It's up to earnings to turn the tide." Next week's earnings onslaught kicks off Monday with reports from the likes of Commerce Bancorp ( CBH), General Motors ( GM) and Citigroup ( C). Traders will also be able to play with earnings from toymakers Hasbro ( HAS) and Mattel ( MAT) on Monday. On Tuesday, companies reporting quarterly results will include Kraft ( KFT), Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Motorola ( MOT). Intel ( INTC) also is set to report earnings Tuesday. Analysts expect the chipmaker to earn 33 cents a share, up from 30 cents last year, on $9.92 billion in revenue. Intel has said it expects to report revenue of $9.8 billion to $10 billion. Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) will report on Tuesday as well, with analysts targeting earnings per share of 86 cents, up from the 78 cents the health care products company earned a year ago, on $12.5 billion in sales. Among the companies reporting Wednesday are Abbott Laboratories ( ABT), General Dynamics ( GD) and eBay ( EBAY). J.P. Morgan ( JPM) will also be reporting earnings on Wednesday. Analysts expect the company to earn 72 cents a share, up from 60 cents last year on $13.8 billion in revenue. Thursday will be the heaviest earnings day of the week, with over 250 companies reporting. Some notable names on the docket include Broadcom ( BRCM), Eli Lilly ( LLY), Ford ( F) and McDonald's ( MCD). Google ( GOOG) will also be among Thursday's heavily watched reports. Analysts expect the search giant to earn $1.36 a share, almost double last year's 70 cents a share, on quarterly revenue of $940 million. Things slow down a bit on Friday on the earnings front, but releases from Caterpillar ( CAT) and Schlumberger ( SLB) should stir up a bit of trading action.
"The market has been in an irritable mood," says Sam Stovall, senior investment strategist at Standard & Poor's. "If earnings and guidance are good, and there are no reasons to sell, then things should work out OK."