It’s been a rocky start for 2016, continuing the choppiness that started in August. US stocks as measured by the CRSP US Total Market Index are down roughly 5% since the beginning of the year and almost 9% since the last market peak on June 22nd.

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If there was any doubt that the stock market remained dependent on the Federal Reserve, it was proven twice again. Last week, Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could begin pulling back on stimulus measures, commonly referred to as quantitative easing, if officials see evidence of "sustained" economic growth. Those comments along with a flurry of good economic reports knocked the S&P 500 down by 1.1% as traders worried that the Fed might soon release the market to swim on its own.

Next week's economic reports may test investors' resolve as closely-watched reports on retail sales, housing, jobs, manufacturing, and inflation are released. The most important is retail sales, which drives 70% of our economy. It is likely to show a second month of contraction, according to economists tracked by Bloomberg.