Fourth quarter earnings season kicks off this week, and one of the most-watched groups will be the big banks. These banks showed 8 percent earnings growth in the third quarter, compared with 3.1 percent for the S&P 500, according to FactSet data.
S&P 500 earnings for the fourth quarter are expected to grow by about 3 percent from the year-ago period, according to FactSet. But the financial sector is expected to do much better than that, with projected growth of 13.8 percent.
The financial sector is expected to be something of a bellwether for the economy, and Friday will be the day to watch. On that day, J.P. Morgan Chase will be reporting its fourth quarter earnings, as well as Wells Fargo and Bank of America.