The market will look to recover from its New Year's hangover in the coming week.

Stocks have slumped since the market reopened for business after an extended break. In 2007's three days of trading, the Dow fell 65 points, or 0.5%, and the S&P 500 was down 8 points, or 0.6%. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, rose about 19 points, or 0.8%.

Although it's easy to slough off a holiday-shortened week of trading, market strategists are wary of starting the year on the wrong foot. According to Miller Tabak senior market strategist Phil Roth, "the first five days of January tends to forecast the month as a whole, and January tends to forecast the year, especially down Januarys."

Stocks took an especially hard dive on Friday after an unexpectedly strong jobs report that appeared to diminish the chance of an interest rate cut anytime in the near future.

Traders have been hoping the Fed will cut the fed funds target, the rate banks charge each other for overnight loans, sometime this year. The target has been at 5.25% since June, and the Fed has gone four meetings leaving it unchanged.

Interest rate worries overrode the market's other big story last week which was the downward spiral in oil prices. Crude prices fell roughly 8% over the week and closed Friday at $56.31 a barrel.

Oil could continue to influence trading in the coming week, as could the government's retail sales report and the first big-name earnings release for the fourth quarter.

Earnings Turnaround

Dow component Alcoa ( AA), whose report is often viewed as the unofficial kickoff to earnings season, will release its results on Tuesday.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expect the aluminum giant to post earnings of 66 cents a share, up from 35 cents last year, on revenue of $7.63 billion.

To start the week, Horizon Health ( HORC), Spectrum Control ( SPEC) and Schnitzer Steel Industries ( SCHN) will be reporting earnings on Monday.

Aside from Alcoa, Tuesday will bring reports from Emmis Communications ( EMMS), Ruby Tuesday ( RI), Audiovox ( VOXX) and WD-40 ( WDFC).

Genentech ( DNA) will highlight Wednesday's earnings lineup. Analysts are expecting the biotech powerhouse to report a fourth-quarter profit of 55 cents a share, up from 34 cents last year, on revenue of $2.53 billion.

On Thursday, M&T Bank ( MTB), Stride Rite ( SRR) and XM Satellite Radio ( XMSR) will be on the earnings docket.

Economic Checkup

The health of the U.S. consumer will be examined on Monday, when consumer credit for November is released. Economists expect a rise of $5.5 billion, compared with a drop of $1.2 billion in the prior month.

Despite the projected spike in credit card debt, Wachovia economist Gina Martin says the consumer is holding up far better than anticipated, primarily due to wage growth.

"People have not needed to take out as much credit because they have seen their incomes rise," says Martin.

Meanwhile, Wednesday will spotlight the health of the nation's finances with the release of the November trade balance. Economists are predicting the nation's trade deficit will widen to $59.5 billion for the month from $58.9 billion in October.

Wholesale inventories for November also will be released on Wednesday. Economists are projecting a 0.5% rise, after 0.8% growth in October.

The December Treasury budget will be delivered on Thursday. Economists will be looking for the nation's coffers to expand by $21 billion, up from $11.2 billion the month before.

The consumer returns to the spotlight on Friday with the release of December retail sales. The consensus estimate is for a rise of 0.7%, down from a 1% jump in November. Excluding autos, retail sales for the month are expected to rise 0.6%, down from the 1.1% increase the prior month.

"Retail sales may not look that strong at first glance, especially compared to last year, which was the strongest since 1999," says Wachovia's Martin. "But it's still going to be a strong season."

Also scheduled for release on Friday are import and export prices for December, as well as business inventories for November.

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Before joining TheStreet.com, Gregg Greenberg was a writer and segment producer for CNBC's Closing Bell. He previously worked at FleetBoston and Lehman Brothers in their Private Client Services divisions, covering high net-worth individuals and midsize hedge funds. Greenberg attended New York University's School of Business and Economic Reporting. He also has an M.B.A. from Cornell University's Johnson School of Business, and a B.A. in history from Amherst College.

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