Another bad week for the markets. Maybe time to top up on volatility?

It’s been a painful start to 2010 for many investors for those that piled in in the early part of January having seen 3 weeks of declines. The Dow Jones flew past 10,700 early in the New Year, but now stands at 10,067 haven fallen every day last week bar one. The DOW, S&P 500 both fell 3% in January and the Nasdaq dropped over 5%.

Friday will be a key day for economic data as the U.S. nonfarm-payrolls data will give important information on the unemployment rate. Key U.S. earnings next week include Pfizer (PFE), Cisco (CSCO), Exxon (XOM) and in the U.K. oil and energy stocks will be in focus with BP (BP.), BG Group (BG.) and Shell (RDSA) reporting

So far 78% of the 220 companies in the S&P 500 reported earnings above analysts' expectations, (Thomson Reuters). In a typical quarter (since 1994), 61% of companies beat Wall Street targets. For the 217 companies that published revenue estimates, 67% topped the consensus expectation.

At around 10,000 on the Dow and with the FTSE hovering just above 5,000, it is still my view that the market offers relatively good value at these levels especially if the UK Bank of England and Federal Reserve continue to signal a continued period of low interest rates.