The earnings season got off to a encouraging start Wednesday when Alcoa ( AA) turned in a better-than-expected earnings report. For the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 14.81, or 0.18%, to 8,178.41, while the S&P 500 lost 1.47, or 0.17%, to 879.56. The Nasdaq rose 1, or 0.06%, to 1,747.17. Tim Seymour said on CNBC's "Fast Money" TV show that Alcoa, which rose 7% in after-hours trading, turned in a "positive" number for a stock that had been beatened down. Joe Terranova said Alcoa's results were significant because it showed how well management handled the bottom line by cutting costs and reducing production. He said the earnings season will be all about how companies go about managing their way through the recession. Rebecca Jarvis, a CNBC reporter who listened in on the conference call, said Alcoa reported a smaller-than- expected loss of 26 cents a share compared to the consensus estimate of a 38-cent loss. Alcoa's CEO is seeing some signs of stabilization in the auto industry, she said. In addition, he said the company has done a good job of reducing the workforce, improving its liquidity position, cutting back on cap expenditures and driving down inventory. Guy Adami said Alcoa could be a bellwether and serve as an impetus for a rally. Karen Finerman disagreed, saying she didn't think Alcoa's encouraging report would be a harbinger for the rest of the earnings season. Finerman said one of the most important things that happened today was the reversal of the Oil Service Holders ( OIH), which ended up 1.15%, while crude, the underlying commodity, was down 4.15%.