Today's stock market tumble is just a preview of things to come. Though trading volume was light, it is obvious that investors have lost their optimism about a short-term recovery. All things being equal, we think investors will sell. But their decisions about whether to stay in the market will rest on the bevy of earnings reports due out this week. These reports will have to produce jaw-dropping and eye-popping positive reactions to convince investors to hang in there.
If that were going to happen, though, we would've heard the good news by now. Companies aren't keeping that sort of information a secret in these volatile times -- they're shouting it from the rooftops. So far, earnings have been miserable, and they are on track for this to be one of the worst earnings seasons ever. All this leaves investors wondering whether this is the bottom or if there is still more earnings pain to come.