Stock Market, Jan. 14: What's on Tap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Friday wraps up the first real week of earnings.

Judging by the action in after-hours trading, Intel's ( INTC) report after the closing bell looks like a positive as the chip giant beat Wall Street's expectations and provided a decent revenue view for the current quarter.

Still, tablets are all the rage, taking market share from standard laptops, PC's and netbooks, and Intel isn't in any tablets at this time and probably won't be until mid year, so it might be wise to keep the enthusiasm in check.

Intel's shares were up more than 2% in late trades but it still can't seem to break through resistance at $22, so it'll be interesting to see if the "sell the news" crowd shows up for Friday's session.

On board ahead of Friday's opening bell is the big kahuna of banks, JP Morgan ( JPM). Wall Street is looking for a fourth-quarter profit of 99 cents a share from CEO Jamie Dimon's dynamo, whose report should provide some clues about what to expect from the other money-center banks.

Expect positive rhetoric from Dimon about wanting to boost the company's dividend as soon as possible. The market delivered excellent performance in the fourth quarter, which will help the brokerage side. Lots of companies went public in the last quarter as well. JP Morgan's name was in many of the deals (it helps when there are only a handful of big bankers left) and will reap the benefits of those fees.

The bank will also probably give more details on its recent China banking deal. The company squeezed out a beat in the third quarter by lowering reserves. Perhaps it will do that again, if it looks like it can't report a great number. It's nice to have that flexibility. In the end, it would have to be a really terrible quarter to smack the stock and Dimon isn't about to let that happen.

On the economic side, the consumer price index is set to be announced at 8:30 a.m. ET. The government will want people to focus on everything but food and gas prices. Unfortunately, we really only care about that because that's what most of use spend our money on -- food and gas. After all, the Fed would have you think that inflation is non-existent.

Or as John Ryding of RDQ Economics puts it: "The Fed's narrow focus on core inflation as a gauge of inflation pressures is an excessively blinkered way of looking at inflation."

Thursday supplied some clues on the CPI as the producer price index rose 1.1% with energy up 3.7% and food climbing 0.8%. Yowza. Now you see why eyes will be watching tomorrow's number, no doubt if it's too rosy, skeptics will start to question the "BS" from the BLS. Or perhaps there will be many buy tickets written as a result of the deflation fears subsiding? Whew, dodged that deflation bullet.

Retail sales are also due to be delivered before the opening bell. If the number is bad, expect the blame to put on the weather. If it's good, the economy is recovering. December sales were a mixed bag and fairly confusing for traders. Some discounters did well, while others didn't. It was the same for the luxury brands, so it's been difficult to get a bead on exactly who was shopping.

Also, more glitter could come off gold on Friday. The yellow metal swooned to start the year and while prices have somewhat stabilized of late, trading remains volatile.

After edging up in regular trades, gold lost more than $13 in after-hours trading after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy.

Bernanke apparently believes the economy could grow 3%-4% in 2011 despite low unemployment. Wow! Imagine if job creation actually does kick in.

And finally, on the penny stock front, Mesa Air ( MESAQ.PK) is due in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York hoping to get their reorganization plan confirmed with hopes of emerging from bankruptcy protection next month. Good luck with that!

-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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