This month's government shutdown may further muddle the economic picture. So when will the Fed finally start to taper? It's possible Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will be stepping down after his term expires early next year, will leave that decision to his successor. Fed vice chair Janet Yellen has been nominated by President Obama to replace Bernanke. She still needs to be approved by the Senate.
Investors will also be watching earnings this coming week. Results from many big companies that reported last week were mixed. But they were good enough to help lift the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq to weekly gains. The S&P 500 ended the week at a record high.
Yearning for more earnings:Apple(AAPL) reports its earnings after the closing bell Monday and it could be another weak quarter for the tech giant.
Nokia(NOK), an Apple competitor which recently announced new phones and tablets of its own, reports earnings on Tuesday. Nokia is also in the process of selling its mobile device business to Microsoft(MSFT).
Herbalife(HLF), the controversial nutritional supplement company that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is betting against, reports results on Monday. Icahn, who has engaged in a nasty public feud with Ackman, is Herbalife's largest shareholder.
Social media firms LinkedIn(LNKD) and Facebook(FB) will report earnings this week as well. Investors will be hoping to see more evidence of mobile growth from Facebook -- especially since Twitter, which is expected to make its market debut in the next few weeks, has disclosed that it is performing extremely well in mobile.
But investors will still get a glimpse of what jobs growth was like in October. Payroll processor ADP(ADP) will release its monthly report on hiring in the private sector. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect that 125,000 jobs were added in October, down from 166,000 in September.