AFTER Friday&rsquo;s non-session, as the US Independence Day holiday suppressed volumes, get ready for a pivotal week set to be dominated by one thing: US earnings.<br /><br />Stock markets have rallied of late on the back of hopes that we&rsquo;ll see a bounce in profits, and this week investors will start to see those hopes look justified or ill-founded. <br /><br />Aluminium giant Alcoa will set the tone as it kicks off the second-quarter earnings season on Wednesday.&nbsp; <br /><br />A quarterly loss of around 34 cents per share is the whisper, but just as important to watch out for is the guidance on future earnings.