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H&W in the Media

Stocks Limp Into Earnings Season, Still Buffeted by China, Oil

Earnings Season

Earnings season has arrived, but investors can’t seem to shake off last week’s funk.

China and oil continued to torment markets on Monday, extending what has been a brutal start to the year.

After another up and down day, stocks finally closed mixed.

The S&P 500 inched up 0.8%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.32% and the Nasdaq slid 0.12%.

Markets closed out last week with the worst start to a year in history. The S&P 500 has fallen 6.7% so far this year.

Alcoa (AA – Get Report) unofficially kicked off earnings season after the bell with better-than-expected earnings on low estimates. Profit fell 88%, while revenue slid 18%, though investors had expected much worse as the aluminum company faces slumping commodity prices.

Overall, analysts largely expect a solid performance from S&P 500 companies during this earnings season.

Excluding energy, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow 1.4%. Revenue is forecast to fall 3.2%, both a result of weaker oil prices and a stronger U.S. dollar cutting into internationally-made profits.

“Fourth-quarter earnings weren’t too bad, and the fundamentals are much stronger than the market performance,” Scotty George, chief investment strategist at Alexander Capital, told TheStreet.

Despite continued worries about China and oil, analysts don’t think there will be all that many earnings surprises.

“We may get some concerning outlooks going forward and guidance from some of the bigger multinational players or those that are correlated to energy prices,” Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management told TheStreet. “But, I don’t think they’ll be that dramatically different from some of the guidance we got coming out of the third-quarter earnings season.”

Click here to read the entire article at TheStreet.com.