The bulls made a slight push higher at the open but the gains were marginal before the major indexes turned negative. The Nasdaq and the S&P tried to get the Dow going but the blue-chips are rapidly approaching a triple-digit loss as we head into the second half of trading.
Economic news has been light with Wholesale Inventories showing an increase of 0.9% for the month of February. Wall Street was looking for an increase of 0.5%.
Some of the uneasiness can be blamed on 1Q earnings season which unofficially begins today after the closing bell. Analysts have been saying for weeks that most companies will report lousy numbers and there have been a few pre-announcements by some companies who will miss the bar.
Alcoa (AA, $9.38, down $0.21) still has the honor of unofficially kicking things off and will announce their numbers minutes after the sessions ends with a conference call scheduled for 5:00pm (EST). Wall Street has penciled a loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.8 billion, on average. The is a chance for a surprise as the range calls for a loss as high as 12 cents a share versus a profit of 7 cents a share.
Last time out the company posted mixed results as they missed their earnings per share number but beat revenue estimates. Shares have been range bound for 2012, trading in the $9-$10 area and the 52-week low is $8.45. Alcoa is down nearly 50% from a 52-week high of $17.96 and some will argue much of the bad news has been priced into the stock. However, if the company comes in with a wider-than-expected loss, shares could test 52-week lows.
We will be watching Alcoa’s numbers but we are more interested in Google’s (GOOG, $632.62, up $1.78) report which is due out after Wednesday’s close, and, JPMorgan Chase (JPM, $43.11, down $0.78) which will confess Friday morning.
As we hit the turn, the Dow is down 131 points to 12,798 (Bingo!) while the S&P is lower by 17 points to 1,365. The Nasdaq down 42 points to 3,005. While it may be hard for our non subscribers to believe we are rooting for a continued decline, our subscribers know the deal. We loaded up on put options and all of them are doing super swell today.
We are taking profits on another triple-digit winner that is up 136% so pay attention to the trade instructions. Subscribers, check the Members Area for the details.