The weekend's East Coast blizzard brought up to 30 inches of snow, gale-force winds, travel chaos, coastal flooding, and 19 deaths.
Another likely victim: the U.S. economy.
Massive storms invariably clobber business and consumer activity, such as retail and auto sales, hourly worker income, factory production, construction and deliveries of supplies. Notably, during the frigid "polar vortex" snow storms experienced in the first quarter of 2014, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 2.1%, after rising by 2.6% in the preceding quarter.
As Wall Street digs out this week, traders will digest the economic consequences of Winter Storm Jonas, as well as a raft of earnings and economic reports.
Leading the earnings report parade will be financial services, a sector that money guru Warren Buffett continues to embrace with bullish expectations.
Our forecast for the coming week: more wild intraday swings, as investors weigh worsening turmoil overseas and a mixed bag of portents at home.
In the negative column: geopolitical uncertainty, especially in China and Russia, where leaders continue to grapple with weakening currencies, teetering financial sectors and sharply slowing economic growth.
In Russia, economic dislocation has gotten so bad, average citizens are actually taking to the streets in protest, always a dicey proposition in Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime. Also this week, several fourth-quarter earnings reports are expected to register year-over-year declines.
In the plus column: optimism last week about global central banks opening the monetary spigots, especially in Europe, and rising oil prices. A bearish week ended on Friday with a global stock rally that appears to have assuaged investor anxiety for now. U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Friday, for their first positive week in four weeks.
On the roster this week will be the first glimpse of fourth-quarter GDP growth in the U.S., new pronouncements from Janet Yellen and her cohorts at the Federal Reserve, and a flurry of major earnings reports. Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to fall on average about 4%, the third quarter in a row of earnings declines for the index.
Banks will bear extra scrutiny, as bellwethers of overall growth in 2016. Last week, Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) and M&T Bank (MTB - Get Report) both topped Wall Street's projections for earnings, further justifying Warren Buffett's decision to add these stocks to Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A - Get Report) portfolio. The latest buying decisions of Buffett are worth watching now, as 2016 gets off to an extraordinarily volatile start.
Let's take a quick look at the major events in the week ahead:
Monday, January 25: Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) , Kimberly-Clark (KMB - Get Report) , McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) , PetMed Express (PETS - Get Report) , BancorpSouth (BXS - Get Report) , BBCN Bancorp (BBCN) , FCB Financial (FCB) , and Bancorp (NBTB - Get Report) .
Tuesday, January 26: Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , AT&T (T - Get Report) , 3M (MMM - Get Report) , DuPont (DD - Get Report) , First Midwest Banc (FMBI - Get Report) , Flagstar Bancorp (FBC - Get Report) , Freeport-McMoRan (FCX - Get Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report) , Lockheed Martin (LMT - Get Report) , Peabody Energy (BTU - Get Report) , Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report) , S&T Bancorp (STBA - Get Report) , Sprint (S - Get Report) , and U.S. Steel (X - Get Report) .
Wednesday, January 27: Anthem (ANTM - Get Report) , Biogen (BIIB - Get Report) , Discover Financial Services (DFS - Get Report) , Facebook (FB - Get Report) , EverBank Financial (EVER) , Fiat Chrysler (FCAU - Get Report) , General Dynamics (GD - Get Report) , Hess (HES - Get Report) , Illinois Tool Works (ITW - Get Report) , Norfolk Southern (NSC - Get Report) , Novartis (NVS - Get Report) , Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) , Textron (TXT - Get Report) , United Technologies (UTX - Get Report) .
Thursday, January 28: Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Get Report) , Alibaba (BABA - Get Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , Baker Hughes (BHI) , Blackstone (BX - Get Report) , Bristol-Meyers (BMY - Get Report) , Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) , Eli Lilly (LLY - Get Report) , First Bancorp (FBP - Get Report) , First Financial (FFIN - Get Report) , Fitbit (FIT - Get Report) , Ford Motor (F - Get Report) , Harley-Davidson (HOG - Get Report) , HCA (HCA - Get Report) , Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) , National Bank (NBHC - Get Report) , Northrop Grumman (NOC) , Nucor (NUE - Get Report) , Raytheon (RTN - Get Report) , Stanley Black & Decker (SWK - Get Report) , Time Warner Cable (TWC) , Valero Energy (VLO - Get Report) , and Visa (V - Get Report) .
Friday, January 29: AbbVie (ABBV - Get Report) , Aetna (AET) , American Airlines (AAL) , Anadarko Petroleum (APC - Get Report) , Banco Santander (BSAC - Get Report) , Chevron (CVX - Get Report) , Colgate-Palmolive (CL - Get Report) , Honda Motor (HMC - Get Report) , Honeywell (HON - Get Report) , MasterCard (MA - Get Report) , Mattel (MAT - Get Report) , Phillips 66 (PSX - Get Report) , Sony (SNE - Get Report) , Whirlpool (WHR - Get Report) , and Xerox (XRX - Get Report) .
Tuesday January 26
U.S. Federal Reserve's FOMC Meeting Begins
FHFA House Price Index
S&P Case-Shiller HPI
Wednesday, January 27
MBA Mortgage Applications
New Home Sales
EIA Petroleum Status Report
FOMC Meeting Announcement
Thursday, January 28
Durable Goods Orders
EIA Natural Gas Report
Friday, January 29
Baker-Hughes Rig Count
As 2016 gets off to a very rocky start, it pays to follow the investment decisions of Warren Buffett, the financial genius who has amassed a personal net worth of $62 billion. Click here to learn more about the stocks that Buffett is now buying and selling. Buy these fast-growing stocks and watch your portfolio beat the market year after year, just like the Oracle of Omaha himself. For clues into Berkshire Hathaway's strategy for 2016, download your free report now.