NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The first-quarter reporting period kicks into high gear this week, even as investors continue to mull the ramifications of Goldman Sachs' fraud charge and the latest batch of readings on the recovery.
News that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) with fraud involving the way it marketed mortgage-backed securities sent stocks tumbling Friday at the end of a mixed week.
But even with Friday's selloff, the Dow and Nasdaq managed to end higher for the week and have now ended higher in eight of the last nine weeks. The S&P 500 ended lower for the week, but has risen in seven of the last nine weeks.
While Goldman will remain in focus this week, investors will also be sorting through quarterly results from around one-fourth of the S&P 500.
"We know that the earnings have been fine and the latest round of economic news has been very good," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. "So there isn't anything fundamental we can point to as a problem. But Goldman Sachs represents some risk, just because we don't know exactly what's going on."
The SEC on Friday charged the firm and a vice president, Fabrice Tourre, with withholding conflicts of interest connected to a sale of mortgage-related securities that caused two European banks to lose nearly $1 billion. The charges emerged as lawmakers have amped up their efforts to investigate practices and complex investments that contributed to the financial crisis.
"Aside from the potential monetary damage, the accusation does considerable damage to Goldman Sachs' reputation," said Haag Sherman, managing director at Salient Partners.
"But how the market does in the next few weeks is going to hinge on earnings," he said. "Earnings have been coming in fair to very good, and that keeps this market moving forward.
With the S&P 500 up 82% since the bottom made in March 2009, stocks remain vulnerable to a considerable pullback, Sherman said. But he said he doesn't think that will happen until interest rates start to rise at the end of the year.
Profit reports: So far, less than 10% of the S&P 500 has reported results.
But better-than-expected earnings from companies such as Intel (INTC, Fortune 500), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) have helped start the period off on a positive note.
"So far, so good, but we still have a long way to go," said John Butters, senior research analyst at Thomson Reuters.
Roughly 25% of the S&P 500, or 123 companies, are due to report results this week, including 11 Dow components. Standouts include IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500), Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) and Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500).
S&P 500 earnings are currently expected to have risen 39% from a year ago, according to the latest from Thomson Reuters. Revenues are on track to have risen 10% from a year ago.
Monday: The March index of leading economic indicators (LEI) is due after the start of trading Monday. LEI is expected to have risen 1% after rising 0.1% in the previous month, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke are both due to speak Monday.
Tuesday: There are no market-moving economic events scheduled for Tuesday.
Wednesday: The government's weekly crude oil inventories report is due in the morning.
Thursday: The Department of Labor is expected to report that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment fell to 455,000 last week from 484,000 in the previous week. Continuing claims, a measure of Americans who have been receiving benefits for a week or more, is expected to have fallen to 4,600,000 from 4,639,000 in the previous week.
The National Association of Realtors is expected to report that existing home sales rose to a 5.3 million unit annualized rate from a 5.02 million unit rate in February, according to economists' forecasts.
The FHFA Home Price index for February is expected to have fallen 0.2% after falling 0.6% in January.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) for March is expected to have risen 0.5% after falling 0.6% in February. The so-called core PPI is expected to have risen 0.1% after rising 0.1% in February.
Friday: March durable goods orders are due before the open from the Commerce Department. Orders are expected to have risen 0.2% after rising 0.9% in February. Goods excluding autos are expected to have risen 0.6% after rising 1.4% in February.
The government's new home sales report is due out after the start of trading. Sales are expected to have risen to a 325,000 unit annual rate in March from a 308,000 unit annualized rate in February. February's level was the lowest on record since the government began keeping tallies in 1963 and the fourth straight month of declines.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||4.40%||4.29%|
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