NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors will be inundated with earnings once again next week but should pause to gander at the Federal Open Market Committee's rate decision statement on Wednesday as well as Friday's reading on fourth-quarter economic growth.

"So far 60 companies have reported results, 43 have surprised on the upside but only 23 companies saw their stocks react positively to the news, so it seems people are taking the news but looking for reasons to sell," said Nino Jimenez, senior vice president at Brinson Patrick, adding that while earnings point to improving conditions, the stock market has rallied so much recently that people may be bracing for a pullback.

Still, Jimenez expects earnings to be the market's main driver next week.

With no new economic releases scheduled for Monday's session, Halliburton ( HAL) and McDonald's ( MCD) will share the spotlight as both are scheduled to report before the start of trading. According to Briefing.com, analysts expect earnings of 63 cents and $1.15 a share, respectively. After the close, American Express ( AXP) and Texas Instruments ( TXN) will come into view. Analysts anticipate earnings of 94 cents and 63 cents, respectively.

Tuesday's session kicks off with two pieces of November housing market data: Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller 20-city home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency home price index. The main draw, however, will likely be the Conference Board's read on January consumer sentiment.

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"The last number was a disappointment, coming in weaker than expected at 52.5 in December , but the expectation here is that it may have been an aberration, and the market is looking for an improvement," said Christian Hviid, chief market strategist for Genworth Financial Asset Management. According to Briefing.com, the market had expected confidence to climb to 56.1 in December, from 54.3 in November.

Also on Tuesday, members of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy-setting arm convene for a two-day meeting that will conclude with the release of its rate decision statement at 2:15 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Although most economists aren't anticipating any changes to rates or the Fed's asset-purchase program, the statement will still be evaluated for alterations to the assessment of economic conditions or for hints of future policy moves.

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