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Wall Street Readies for 'Throw-Away' Earnings

Aluminum giant Alcoa reports first-quarter earnings tomorrow, taking its usual position as the first Dow component to report and leading the way for what some investors are calling a "throw-away" quarter.

Forecasters predict Alcoa, for instance, will report a loss of 50 cents per share, following a fourth quarter of 2008 during which it swung into a loss.

Alcoa will be followed by industrials such as Dow Chemical, retailers such as Liz Claiborne and manufacturers such as GM and Ford.

All 10 sectors of the S&P 500 are expected to post year-over-year losses. As a whole, the S&P is expected to post a year-over-year decline in value of 35.9 percent.

The earnings reports could add additional uncertainty to the markets.

Wall Street expects first-quarter earnings to be bad this year, and that's where the name "throw-away" comes from. What it wants is some assurance that the second quarter and the remainder of the year will be better.

But here's the problem: Some major companies such as Pepsi, confounded by the volatile, dynamic market, have walked away from guidance for the rest of the year, basically telling investors, "You're on your own."

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  April 6, 2009; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Ford, GM, earnings  
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