Bulls Upbeat as Earnings Season Begins

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- So begins another earnings season with participants in TheStreet's latest Bull vs. Bear survey expecting good things to come.

As of 5 a.m. EST Monday, the poll finds survey-takers who were bullish on stocks tallying 284 votes, or 59.2%, of the 480 total votes cast. Bears came in with 121 votes, or 25.2%, while those neutral on stocks this week were at 75 votes, or 15.6%.

The commercial banks sector was picked as the sector most likely to rise this week, while the precious metals sector was chosen as the most likely to decline.

Alcoa ( AA), like it does every quarter, kicks off the fourth-quarter earnings season Monday. The aluminum maker, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is expected to earn 19 cents a share, up from a profit of 1 cent a share a year earlier, according to analysts polled by Briefing.com.

Technology giant Intel ( INTC) reports Thursday and banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) reports Friday.

Stocks fell last Friday as the U.S. jobs report for December came in weaker than expected. Stocks, however, finished the week higher. The Dow, up 0.8%, marked its sixth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 jumped 1.1% last week, while Nasdaq gained 1.9%.

Premarket futures Monday were suggesting U.S. stocks would open lower.

Asian stocks ended lower Monday, while European shares at 5 a.m. EST also were moving to the downside.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

The poll closes at 9:15 a.m.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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