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Alcoa Could Displace Data in Coming Week

( Updated from Jan. 9 with Thomson Reuters' fourth-quarter earnings and revenue projections.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The market's recent focus has been on jobs and the Fed, but that could change next week as earnings season kicks off with Alcoa's (AA - Get Report) report on Monday.

The aluminum maker will be the first component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report fourth-quarter results in 2010. Tech giant Intel (INTC - Get Report) follows later in the week onThursday, while industrial-financial conglomerate General Electric (GE - Get Report) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) are due on Friday.

Expectations are cautiously hopeful, with analysts predicting all four firms remained in the black; Alcoa with 6 cents per share, Intel with 30 cents per share, GE with 26 cents per share, and JPMorgan with 63 cents per share, according to the consensus views of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. But there have been mixed signs recently of how far along in the economic recovery we have come, and how long it will take for earnings to be driven by top-line growth, rather than cost-cutting measures.

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For the entire fourth-quarter earnings season, Thomson Reuters is calling for an estimated growth rate for the S&P 500 of 184%, which is unusually high due to the easy comparison to year-ago earnings. The financials, materials and consumer discretionary sectors are expecting the highest earnings growth rates for the quarter, while the energy and industrials sectors are expecting the lowest.

If the final growth rate for the fourth quarter is 184%, it will mark the first time the S&P 500 has recorded year-over-year earnings growth since the second quarter of 2007, and it will mark the end of the streak of consecutive quarters of negative growth rates at nine, according to Thomson Reuters.
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