After strong gains in the last few weeks US markets closed down yesterday as investors exercised caution leading into earnings season and minutes from the Federal Reserve released tomorrow. Today US markets look set to open lower ahead of earnings from Alcoa after the close. Futures suggest the Dow Jones will open 28 points lower at 16,996 with the S&P500 expected to open 3 points lower at 1,974 and the Nasdaq 3 points lower at 3,907. It was just before earnings season in March that saw large declines in stocks as concerns over valuation came to the forefront. That has been happening again in a muted fashion this week. Major benchmarks are higher than they were in the first quarter’s reporting so this season’s results will need to justify what are even higher valuations. Slower smartphone growth has hit shares in Samsung today with the company reporting an operating profit at a 2 year low. 70% of the electronics company’s earnings come from smartphones, a similar percentage to Apple’s reliance on the iPhone which perhaps doesn’t bode well for shares in Apple today. American Apparel shares jumped over 5% in afterhours trading following a deal with its largest investor hedge fund Standard General to pay some its debts. The clothing company has been in trouble since allegations of misconduct have come about against CEO Dov Charney, he is expected to step down inside the next two weeks. With potentially a new Chief Executive and shored up finances, investors are hoping the popular clothing brand can turn a corner. Alcoa is expected to earn 12c per share on revenue of $5.66bn after today’s close. CMC Markets is an execution only provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.