Wall Street Shifts Focus to Earnings

Third-quarter earnings are underway this week, and they provide a better look at the economy's underlying fundamentals than the toxic assets that have dominated the headlines and Tasered the markets for the past few weeks.

Yesterday, aluminum giant Alcoa said its third-quarter profit had dropped 52 percent, sending shares of its stock to 13-year lows.

But this morning, IBM offered an early peek at its third-quarter earnings, which beat estimates and may signal good news for the tech sector.

Also, the Labor Department announced this morning that jobless claims last week dropped from seven-year highs, though they still remain at recession levels.

Tomorrow, another U.S. giant and economic bellwether -- General Electric -- is set to release its third-quarter earnings.

Finally, the ban on short-selling ended last night, so we'll see if or how that affects trading today.

As always: hang on.

-- Frank Ahrens

October 9, 2008; 9:24 AM ET  | Category:  business
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I'm hanging on to a power saw here, making my own Christmas presents. They keep shifting and getting more shifty each day. I guess we'll see who gets to pass the buck or lack of bucks to who today. Now they are playing peek-a-boo with earnings and everybody is getting coal in their stockings if they have a place to burn it. I guess new PC and software sales will be off this year, along with clothes and most everything else. Can't ruin my Christmas. Back to the rocket project for dear sakes. Good luck Post!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 9, 2008 11:10 AM

Can I borrow your power saw when your done?
I need it too.
If you were thinking about using dollars to buy Christmas presents, or anything else, check out this video of the pros and cons of the weak dollar. Very intersting.. nice to hear some pros...

Posted by: Adam | October 9, 2008 12:19 PM

I have a bunch of power saws. I don't loan power tools. If things are that bad for you, I'll give you one if you need to make Christmas presents for the kids.

Posted by: IV | October 10, 2008 5:10 AM

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