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Earnings: Alcoa Forecast To Falter Ahead Of Company Split; Q2 Anyone?

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Let the games begin. Alcoa Inc AA 3.84% turns in Q1 results after the bell today to mark the official onset of earnings season—that four-times-a-year period when investors get to look under the hood and kick the tires of their stock holdings. By most analyst forecasts, the expectations for profit gains cumulatively among the companies that comprise the S&P 500 index (SPX) are not only sloping downward but could be the worse overall results since 2008. But enough about Q1 already, what are they doing for us in Q2?

Grim Expectations for S&P Profits

The projections for Q1 have been trending downhill for many weeks and sit at a negative-7.4%, compared with the year-ago period, according to Thomson Reuters. Analysts blame such a drop mostly on the energy sector, which has been decimated with the steep declines in oil prices coupled with the rising value of the dollar. But Wall Street should be used to this kind of slump considering that, if predictions are on target, it will be the third straight quarterly profit descent. Analysts will be looking for some insight into what’s ahead based on what’s already happened so far in the Q2. Any sort of positive, forward-looking statements on conference calls by CEO’s will probably be well received by the markets.

Though the forecasts are grim, analysts note that they could turn out to be less catastrophic than expected, given how companies like the “beat-the-Street” headlines when they...