Here are six companies that will report earnings this week. Each, in its own way, provides a snapshot of the economy.
-- General Electric Co.
-- Why it's important: GE has a stake in almost every major sector of the economy. It builds turbines for power plants and high-tech medical machines. Jetliners use GE engines. When homeowners remodel, GE's stainless steel ovens and refrigerators anchor their kitchens. And many people still screw GE light bulbs into their living room lamps. GE is also a barometer of the health of the financial world through its lending arm GE Capital.
-- When it will report: Friday, April 17.
-- Why it's important: Intel is a barometer of spending on personal computers and servers. When computer makers buy more of Intel's chips, it indicates they believe demand from consumers and businesses is strong. Orders have cratered in recent months. Intel's profit has plunged to its lowest levels since 2001.
-- When it will report: Tuesday, April 14.
Johnson & Johnson
-- Why it's important: J&J is the world's most diverse health care products company, making everything from contraceptives to baby formula to advanced drugs harvested from living cells. That broad base means it captures a large slice of consumer spending. People are normally reluctant to cut back on health care spending.
-- When it will report: Tuesday, April 14
-- Why it's important: The nation's largest bank is involved in everything from residential mortgages to commercial real estate to credit cards. Any recovery in Citigroup would bode well for the broader financial industry, and the market knows it: Stocks began a four-week rally after CEO Vikram Pandit said last month that January and February were profitable.
-- When it will report: Friday, April 17
-- Why it's important: This paint and wall-covering company gets nearly half its sales from its remodeling and repainting business. Another 10 percent comes from new housing and new building construction. As the economy slowed down -- and housing sales and renovations with it -- Sherwin's business contracted sharply.
-- When it will report: Thursday, April 16.
-- Why it's important: The railroad logistic company transports everything from cars and car parts to heating oil. When consumers feel pinched or homes are sitting empty, those things aren't moving.
-- When it reports: Tuesday, April 14
Ashley Heher in Chicago, Jordan Robertson in San Francisco, Stephen Manning in Washington, Tom Murphy in Indianapolis and Samantha Bomkamp in New York contributed to this story-AP.