What to Watch Today as Earnings Season Kicks Off

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It's earnings season! This is one of the four times each year when investors have the chance to see how their portfolio companies are performing relative to Wall Street's expectations. With a lack of market-moving economic data on the table this week, expect investor focus to fall on this first wave of reports in order to gauge the private sector's resiliency to the economic events of the past few months. As we approach our first reports, here's a glance at where U.S. futures markets stood as of this writing.

Futures Index

Gain/Loss

Gain/Loss %

Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)  (54) (0.4%)12,673
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC)  (5)(0.4%)1,346

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

This earnings season is of particular interest to investors, given the spike in earnings warnings that have occurred in previous weeks as companies admitted to their struggles amid the current global economic turmoil. One of the more notable negative preannouncements was from Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) , which cut organic sales growth estimates by 2% for the current quarter following market-share losses and an inability to pass along price increases successfully. Investors will have to wait until Aug. 3 to find out where results actually ended up, and they'll also receive an update on the company's fiscal 2013 guidance.

Batter up!
Leading off for Dow components is aluminum producer Alcoa (NYS: AA) , which releases earnings after the market closes today. With aluminum prices sitting near two-year lows, Alcoa's smelting unit has been hurting, while its fabrication business, which provides specialized aluminum for the likes of Ford (NYS: F) , has been performing nicely, given the tailwind provided by the world's automakers. According to some estimates, shipments of aluminum from the U.S. to auto industry customers will rise by more than 15% this year. According to our industrials analyst in this premium report on Ford, we can expect that kind of growth to persist, thanks to a number of factors moving in the company's favor.


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At the time this article was published At the time of this writing Brenton Flynn owned shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Ford Motor and Procter & Gamble.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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