Stocks: New milestones in sight

  @emilyjanefox April 14, 2013: 4:35 PM ET

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It's all about milestones in the stock market these days.

After logging one of the best weeks of the year last week, investors face a smattering of corporate earnings reports and economic data to keep the momentum going in the coming week.

Last week, the Dow Jones industrial average increased 2.1%, while the S&P 500 added 2.3% and the Nasdaq climbed 2.8%. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are hovering just below the record highs set Thursday, and are within striking distance of their next major milestones: 15,000 for the Dow, and 1,600 for the S&P.

There hasn't been any one reason behind the record-setting bonanza for stocks. Overall, Americans have been heartened by signs of an improving economy, but lately what seems to be driving investors is the fear of missing out.

Investors have pumped in more than $60 billion into mutual funds and ETFs that hold U.S. stocks this year, according to research firm TrimTabs. That's already more than any full calendar year since 2004. And if the pace keeps up, this year's inflow would be the largest since 2000.

Related: Fear & Greed index

This week, investors will digest a bunch of reports on the U.S. housing market and manufacturing.

Housing starts, building permits, the National Association of Home Builders housing market index and the MBA mortgage index are all due out throughout the week.

The housing market has been boosted by a tight inventory of homes available for sale, near record-low mortgage rates and a drop in homes in foreclosure. A decline in unemployment is also helping the housing recovery.

The housing recovery itself is helping support overall economic growth, as builders scramble to hire workers to meet the renewed demand.

The manufacturing sector will also be in play, with empire manufacturing, industrial production and the Philadelphia Fed on tap this week.

Coal stocks worse than lump of coal

On the corporate front, heavy hitters from the banking and tech sectors are set to report earnings this week.

Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) and Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) will report quarterly results throughout the week. The first quarter was expected to have been a tough one for banks, with interest rates hovering near record lows.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) reported a first-quarter profit that topped forecasts, but revenue missed estimates. Similarly, Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) reported a jump in profit, but a decline in revenue.

Tech companies Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), IBM (IBM, Fortune 500), Intel (INTC, Fortune 500), Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), Nokia (NOK) and Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) will also report this week.

McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500) and General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) are also due to come out with earnings on Friday. To top of page

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