Earnings season kicks off on shaky ground

Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)

The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session lower by 8.91 points, or 0.32%, on Monday and it closed at 2,771.51. Baidu Inc. (BIDU) (+2.68%) followed Biogen Idec. (BIIB) (+7.18%) in the Nasdaq-100. Citrix Systems (CTRX) (+1.96%) and Mattel (MAT) (+1.62%) followed. The weakest performers were Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) (-3.44%), Expedia Inc. (EXPE) (-3.08%), Joy Global (JOYG) (-2.99%), and Micron Technology (MU) (-2.98%).

Alcoa (AA) unofficially kicked off earnings season by roughly matching analysts' estimates ($0.28/share) following Monday's close. They missed, however, on revenue, which rose 21.9% from a year earlier to $5.96 billion. Shares were trading lower, along with the index futures, following the news. Fastenal (FAST) reports on Tuesday prior to the open, while JP Morgan Chase (JPM) reports Wednesday morning, and Google (GOOG) reports after Thursday's close.

Major economic reports to watch for this week include the Mortgage Bankers Association's report on mortgage applications and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book on Wednesday. On Friday eyes will be on the Empire Manufacturing Index and the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index.

The ongoing budget debate will continue to grab headlines this week. In addition to the debate on cuts this year, the 2012 fiscal budget also still needs to be laid out and the situation with the country's legal debt limits must still be addressed.

Unless otherwise stated, the index action described in this article relates to the E-mini futures contracts for the respective indices. Actual index action may differ slightly in terms of pattern formation, although the market bias will remain the same.

Toni Hansen is president and co-founder of the Bastiat Group Inc., DBA Trading From Main Street. Toni is one of the most respected technical analysts and traders in the industry. She has been trading and educating new traders, money managers, professional market analysts and traders throughout the boom and bust of the last decade. She has worked in conjunction with some of the world's top financial exchanges. Learn more about Toni Hansen and the educational services she provides through her website at http://www.tonihansen.com.

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About the Author
Toni Hansen

Toni Hansen is president and co-founder of the Bastiat Group, Inc., DBA Trading From Main Street. Toni is one of the most respected technical analysts and traders in the industry. She has been trading and educating new traders, money managers, professional market analysts and traders throughout the boom and bust of the last decade. She has worked in conjunction with some of the world's top financial exchanges. Learn more about Toni Hansen and the educational services she provides through her website at http://www.tonihansen.com.

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