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Stocks rally heading into Alcoa’s earnings season kickoff

Today the focus now shifts to the start of earnings season with Alcoa reporting after US exchanges close today. The big market moves in both directions over the last three months suggest indecision on the outlook for earnings this year. The recent market correction appears to have come from concerns that P/E valuations may have bounced back too quickly. The answer to the question of whether prices are currently too high or earnings estimates are currently too low could spark significant moves in the markets over the coming weeks.  

    Stock markets dropped sharply through the last earnings season, part of which was related to a selloff in China, par of which was that on balance, companies reported strong earnings for Q4 but then issued disappointing guidance for Q1 and/or 2016. Economic data held up reasonably well through the quarter, so the question now facing traders is whether managements and markets were overly pessimistic back in January and early February, or if the recent recovery in stocks has been too much too fast?

    In addition to earnings, from Alcoa traders may focus on the outlook for commodity demand and pricing. Later in the week, the schedule is dominated by banks. In the US, traders may focus in on any comments results related to exposure to the struggling energy sector or energy producing regions. In Europe, questions about the banks surround the impact of negative interest rates on their profitability.    

Commodity markets have been steady so far today with crude oil trading up slightly as they consolidate Friday’s gains. Currency trading is mixed with gold up and JPY down. GBP is the top performer gaining 1.0% on EUR and 0.8% on USD as Brexit uncertainty fears subside for now. In resource currencies, ZAR is particularly strong up about 1.6% while the rest of the group including CAD, NZD, MXN, RUB, NOK and AUD are all up 0.1%-0.6% against USD.  

Corporate News

There have been no major announcements in North America so far today.

Economic News

Significant announcements released overnight include:

China leading index        99.0 vs previous 98.1
China consumer prices        2.3% vs street 2.4%
China producer prices        (4.3%) vs street 4.6%

Norway consumer prices    3.3% vs street 3.2%
Norway producer prices        1.3% vs previous (2.6%)
Norway PPI incl Oil        (14.9%) unchanged

Japan machine orders        (0.7%) vs street (2.4%)

Upcoming significant announcements include:

10:00 am EDT        Bloombeg Nanos confidence        previous 54.7

4:00 pm EDT        Alcoa earnings


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