Many investors and most media outlets are looking to the next round of corporate earnings as the key to the coming week. The earnings parade does hit full speed in the days ahead (highlights below), and the suddenly less-confident bulls are hoping quarterly results will be better received than in the week just passed.

Traders, meanwhile, are turning their attention to Tuesday's State of the Union address -- specifically, to expectations President Bush will once again highlight America's "oil addiction" and the need for alternative energy solutions.

"Based on all we're hearing, he wants to try to get ahead of this alternative energy bandwagon," says Greg Valliere, chief Washington strategist at Stanford Financial Group. "His main goal is to take some attention away from Iraq. Republicans are scared about further losses in 2008 , and they have to change the subject. What better issue than this?"

Unlike Social Security reform or tax credits for private health insurance, alternative energy initiatives have the advantage of enjoying true bipartisan support. There is even talk in Washington circles that the president will sign the House bill passed Thursday aimed at rolling back billions of oil-industry subsidies, provided it clears the Senate.

"Bush will be conciliatory on the subject," Valliere says. "He is starting to soften a bit on the issue of global warming and alternative energy."

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