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Actionable news in AA: ALCOA INC,

First-Quarter Earnings in Focus in Week Ahead

Wall Street will have a new distraction from the unpredictable daily whims of crude oil prices in the coming week as first-quarter earnings season begins.

The reporting season will kick off in earnest on Monday afternoon when unofficial bell-ringer Alcoa (AA - Get Report) reports after the close of trading. Uncertainty over how major companies fared over the quarter kept bulls on the sidelines and pushed bears to sell.

"As we start to kick into earnings season there's going to be anxiety," Matt Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Investors, told TheStreet. "There's a general skepticism that [earnings] are perhaps steady but they'll be unenthusiastic. Steady but uninspiring."

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The early prognosis on companies' quarterly performances doesn't look good. S&P 500 earnings are expected to fall 7.9% in the first quarter, their third straight quarter in decline and their worst losing streak since mid-2009. Excluding the energy sector, earnings are forecast to fall 3.6%. Only three S&P 500 sectors are expected to have positive earnings growth: consumer discretionary, telecommunications, and health care.

Major banks will kick off their reporting season with JPMorgan (JPM - Get Report) on Wednesday morning. Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) , BlackRock (BLK - Get Report) , PNC Financial (PNC - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC) will report on Thursday morning, while Citigroup (C) is scheduled for Friday.

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