There was quite a bit of data for investors to digest last week.  Earnings season kicked off with DOW component, Alcoa, posting better than expected results.  Small business optimism rose slightly in December with an 80 reading, but fewer companies plan to hire.  New claims for jobless benefits rose from 4,000 to 371,000, and continuing claims were a bright spot, reaching their lowest level in more than four years.

In the weeks ahead, we expect an earnings report from Bank of America, E-Bay and Intel; As well as data on housing, inflation and consumer sentiment.

During the month of November new construction declined by 3 percent, led by a drop in single family homes and highlighting a bumpy recovery. As a gauge of future building activity, building permits rose 3.6 percent.

We will get a read on inflation with the December consumer price index report, which tracks price changes for food, clothing and energy. Prices declined slightly overall, in November, but gas prices dropped 7.4 percent. It’s biggest decline in nearly four years.

The fiscal cliff debate weighed on consumer sentiment as it fell to a 72.9 reading, it’s lowest level since July. Consumer sentiment is a gauge of consumer spending.

That’s your CNBC Market look ahead for theGrio.com