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CNBC Primer Post


The Dow and the S&P 500 are coming off their biggest one-day losses of the new year, though stocks did finish the Tuesday session off their lows. If the losing trend continues, the Dow and S&P 500 will have alternated between weekly gains and losses for a sixth week, though the kickoff of earnings season will likely be a key influence for the remainder of the week.


There are no government economic reports due out today, though the Treasury will be selling $21 billion in 10-year notes with the results of that sale due shortly after 1 p.m. New York time. The Mortgage Bankers Association will be out with its weekly look at mortgage applications at 7 a.m., and the Energy Department will issue its assessment of oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m.


Though earnings season is now underway with yesterday afternoon's release of Dow component Alcoa's (AA) numbers, the calendar today is actually quite light. Constellation Brands (STZ) is one of the few companies of note set to issue numbers this morning, while there are no companies of note set to report after the bell.


Alcoa (AA) kicked off earnings season by reporting fourth quarter profit of $0.06 per share, in line with analyst estimates. Revenue of $5.9 billion was above consensus, and Alcoa predicted aluminum demand growth of 7 percent this year, up from last year's 6 percent rate. Alcoa has also named executive Willliam Oplinger as its new chief financial officer as of April 1, succeeding the retiring Charles McLane.


Clearwire (CLWR) is a stock to watch this morning, as the wireless service provider gets an unsolicited takeover offer of $3.30 per share from Dish Network (DISH). Sprint Nextel (S) already has an agreement to acquire the part of Clearwire it doesn't already own for $2.97 per share. Clearwire says its ability to enter other transactions is limited by other arrangements, but that it has a fiduciary duty to discuss the Dish offer.


Seagate (STX) has raised its current quarter revenue outlook to $3.6 billion from the prior $3.5 billion. But the hard disk drive maker also says it expects an adjusted gross margin of about 27 percent, at the low end of its prior range of 27 – 32 percent. Seagate has been impacted by soft demand and global economic weakness.


Procter & Gamble (PG) has named Macy's (M) chief executive Terry Lundgren to its board of directors. The consumer products giant also announced that current director Johnathan Rogers has decided not to seek reelection at this year's annual meeting in October.


Orbitz (OWW) chief financial officer Mitch Marcus has resigned to pursue other opportunities. He'd been on the job just two months, with the online travel services provider saying that Marcus had determined that "this was not the right opportunity for him".


Boeing (BA) continues on our watch list, as investors remain concerned about potential problems with the recently introduced 787 jet. Separately, the union representing company engineers and technical workers is resuming contract talks with Boeing today, but says the two sides remain far apart on major issues.


AIG's (AIG) board of directors will meet today to consider whether to join a lawsuit challenging the terms of the government rescue of the insurance company in September 2008. It expects to decide that issue by the end of this month.


Transocean (RIG) will be in court in New Orleans today, starting the process to get approval for its $400 million settlement with the Justice Department over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill


Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are among banks expected to agree this week to a $1.5 billion settlement over mortgage foreclosures, according to Reuters. This settlement is separate from the one announced earlier this week involving larger mortgage services like Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C).


Apollo Group (APOL) reported fiscal first quarter profit of $1.22 per share, excluding certain items, versus estimates of $0.90. However, the for-profit educational services provider also projected operating income for fiscal 2013 that's below its prior guidance.


WD-40 (WDFC) earned $0.69 per share for its first quarter, 15 cents above estimates, with revenues also well above consensus.