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Welcome To Earnings Season!

Wednesday, 8 Jul 2009 | 5:25 PM ET

STOCKS BRACE FOR EARNINGS

With earnings season now officially underway, investors are sifting through Alcoa's better-than expected report trying to determine what their numbers reveal about the slew of reports coming in the weeks that lie ahead.

AFTER HOURS ACTION: ALCOA

In extended trade shares of Alcoa rose as much as 6.8% after the company reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss of 26 cents a share. Analysts who follow Alcoa expected on average for the company to report a loss of 38 cents a share on sales of $3.93 billion

What’s the trade?

Word on the Street
The Fast Money crew takes a look at today's top business stories.

Alcoa usually disappoints, says Tim Seymour, so this is very positive.

I think it could be a bellwether considering the S&P touched 870, muses Guy Adami. We could be poised for a higher open.

Also the report intensifies the importance of the global credit crisis, adds Joe Terranova, and how well Alcoa managed the bottom line. I think we may see other companies do the same. I think this earnings season will be all about the bottom line.

I don’t agree with that, counters Karen Finerman. I think it’s all about outlook. And I don’t see Alcoa as a great indicator for what’s coming in the weeks ahead.

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WORST LOSING STREAK FOR OIL IN 10 MONTHS

Oil dropped over 4 percent to under $61 a barrel on Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed that distillate stocks have risen near a 25-year high, reinforcing worries about a potential economic rebound.

U.S. crude settled $2.79 lower at $60.14 a barrel for its sixth straight daily loss. The close was the lowest since $59.65 a barrel on May 19.

What’s the oil trade?

It seems to me that the big issue here is the chatter that regulators could limit spot crude buying, adds Joe Terranova. That’s probably driving the selling. But if that happens it could well send investors into energy related stocks. And at the end of the day, I think the winners are the exchanges.

Elsewhere in commodities, shares of Freeport McMoRan rallied on Wednesday, after Citigroup upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," citing a bullish outlook for copper pricing in 2010 and 2011.

The price target on the stock was lifted to $58 from $53.

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BANKS WEIGH ON MARKET

Shares of big banks weighed down the Dow after Bernstein cut estimates on both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs .

I think what Bernstein is saying is the cost of repaying TARP will hurt these guys but it’s a one-off, adds Tim Seymour. But I don’t think the downgrade undermines the fundamental value of these stocks going forward.

Elsewhere in the sector, American Express CEO Ken Chenault added to the negative tone when he said, "I would hope that we would start to see some improvement (of the economy) maybe some time in the second half of 2010, but again, that depends on jobs that are being created and consumer confidence.”

I’m concerned about the consumer, adds Tim Seymour. I’m not sure we can have a sustainable rally without consumers.

I’m interested to see how the consumer is holding up too, adds Karen Finerman, and we’ll find out on Thursday with same-store sales.

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OUTSIDE THE STOCKS: TREASURYS SURGE

U.S. government bond prices shot higher on Wednesday, pushing benchmark yields to seven-week lows, after the Treasury sold $19 billion worth of 10-year debt in an auction that attracted surprisingly strong demand.

Auctions of 10-year and 30-year bonds have increasingly been seen as tests of the government's long-term borrowing ability since investors started to question confidence in the United States' prized AAA credit rating back in May.

Treasury appeared to pass the test with flying colors at its reopening of previously issued 10-year notes, attracting robust demand with the help of weak stocks and worries that the worst recession in decades might not be easing soon.

It’s a good sign for anyone looking to lock in a mortgage rate, explains Melissa Lee.

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TOPPING THE TAPE: RETAILERS

Shares of the RTH closed higher ahead of Thursday’s monthly same-store sales figures. Investors likely turned positive on the discounters after Family Dollar reported a 36 percent jump in quarterly profit as more shoppers scoured its aisles for low prices on food, shampoo and household cleaners.

I still think there’s value in the discounters, says Joe Terranova. I still like Kohl’s, Dick’s , and even Family Dollar at these levels. Any stores that allows consumers to get what they need at the cheapest possible price remains in play.

I agree with Joe about Family Dollar, adds Guy Adami. I think it could go to $35.

Or else look at Wal-Mart, adds Karen Finerman

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GOOGLE DEATH BLOW?

Shares of Google popped after the firm announced plans to attack Microsoft core business by taking on the software giant's globally dominant Windows operating system for personal computers.

Google, which already offers a suite of e-mail, Web and other software products that compete with Microsoft, said on Tuesday it would launch a new operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.

Find out what CNBC Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman has to say about Google’s move. Watch the video now!

Google Death Blow
Google is aiming at Microsoft Windows, with CNBC's Jim Goldman and the Fast Money traders.





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Trader disclosure: On July 8th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Seymour Owns (AA), (AAPL), (BAC), (BX), (EEM), (FXI), (F), (INFY), (SBUX); Seymour's Firm Owns (FCX); Terranova Owns (MSFT), (XBI), (ABT), (OIH), (RIMM), (SUN) ; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Finerman Owns (RIG), (TBT); Finerman's Firm Owns (FCN), (MSFT), (NOK), (PBR), (RIG), (TBT), (WMT), (FLS); Finerman's Firm Owns (BAC) Preferred; Finerman Owns (BAC) Preferred; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BAC), (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (SPY), (USO)

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