US investors brace for start of the quarterly earnings season

Marion Dakers
ALCOA will this evening kick off the quarterly earnings season in the United States, with analysts expecting a decline in profits from the bellwether aluminium maker.

Falling aluminium prices are expected to send Alcoa profits down, with analysts at Morgan Stanley expecting earnings per share of $0.08, from $0.06 in the previous quarter.

Dow Jones component Alcoa is traditionally the first firm to announce its results each quarter.

JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Chevron are among the other prominent US firms posting quarterly results this week.

After worse-than-expected jobs figures last week, a gloomy start to the results season would fuel concerns about the US economic recovery running out of steam.

The S&P 500 index, which has smashed through record highs in recent months, suffered its biggest weekly drop of the year last week following the news that US firms added just 88,000 jobs last month, around half the figure that economists had predicted.