Stocks spent most of the day in the red. But they turned around mid-day and staged a nice rally.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 14,613, +48.2 pts, +0.3 percent
S&P 500: 1,560, +9.7 pts, +0.6 percent
NASDAQ: 3,222, +18.3 pts, +0.5 percent
And now the top stories:
- There wasn't much market-moving news out of the U.S. during the trading session. For the most part, investors seem to be positioning themselves ahead of earnings season, which unofficially kicks off with aluminum giant Alcoa after the closing bell today.
- Analysts expect Alcoa to post Q1 earnings of $0.08 per share, which is down 19 percent from a year ago. This is largely due to falling aluminum prices. Because it's considered to be a decent bellwether of economic activity, investors and economists will be interested to hear what they have to say about global demand.
- "[R]ecent history shows that when Alcoa has beat estimates, the price of the index has increased about 80% of the time over the next three months," wrote FactSet's John Butters who reviewed the company's last 40 earnings announcements. "When Alcoa has missed estimates, the price of the index has actually increased nearly as often as it has decreased over the next three months."
- As more earnings announcements come out, analysts hope companies will address an array of questions about the spending and investing behaviors of consumers and businesses. We'll be interested to hear about the impacts of fiscal policy uncertainty, deterioration in the Euro economies, and any slowing in the emerging Asian economies.
- "Our view is that a sharp market correction only happens if people fear a BIG decline in earnings, not a small one that they view makes future results more achievable," wrote Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker. "We think April earnings and July guidance will continue to be muted, but we don’t think real fear about earnings will grow to the point we get a material stock market correction."
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