Stocks in the news: Alcoa, PepsiCo, Marriott

Some of the companies making headlines today:

Alcoa (AA) unofficially kicked off earnings season late Wednesday, being the first of the Dow industrials to report results. It said it earned $77 million, or 8 cents per share in the quarter. Though it was 70% lower that last year's earnings, it was better than expectations. Alcoa also forecast 11 percent growth in global aluminum demand in the second half of 2009, largely on the back of robust growth in China. AA shares jumped 6% in pre-market trading.

PepsiCo (PEP) said Thursday that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 9 percent to $1.72 billion, or $1.09 per share, in part on cost-control efforts, even as revenue dropped 1 percent to $11.08 billion on weak beverage sales. Analysts expected profit of $1.03 per share.