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Weak start to earnings season hits Wall Street

NEW YORK, Jan 12 – Wall Street shares took a drubbing at the opening Tuesday after disappointing quarterly results from Alcoa to kick off the corporate earnings season injected some caution in the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 63.48 points (0.60 percent) to 10,600.51 in the first exchanges, as blue chips pulled back from a 15-month closing high hit Monday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite shed 15.70 points (0.68 percent) to 2,296.71 and the broad Standard & Poor\’s 500 index retreated 7.48 points (0.65 percent) to 1,139.50.

Many European markets were trading lower in response to Alcoa\’s results, seen as a harbinger of the earnings season and the health of the corporate sector.

The aluminum giant reported a quarterly loss of 277 million dollars. Excluding one-time items the company posted a profit of one cent per share, well below market expectations.

Patrick O\’Hare at Briefing.com said Alcoa failed to generate confidence either with its top line, revenues, or bottom line, profits.

"It was an inglorious start to the fourth quarter earnings reporting season, as Dow component Alcoa fell short of analysts\’ consensus earnings estimate," he said.

"Alcoa\’s top-line weakness speaks to the reality that the economic recovery isn\’t as strong as the stock market might lead one to think it is."

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