Investors expecting less can get more

Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange

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Steve Chiotakis: Earnings season kicks off today with aluminum giant Alcoa. A parade of not very good news is expected in the weeks to come. But that doesn't necessarily mean investors will be disappointed. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: Investors expect companies to say they earned 37 percent less in the first three months of this year than they did a year ago.

Al Goldman is chief market strategist at Wachovia Securities. He's says he's not surprised.

Al Goldman: I think anybody who doesn't know that first-quarter earnings are going to be bad doesn't have a pulse.

Goldman says all the bad news has already been priced into the market. But investors are still nervous about financial companies. So a warning about the banks caused the whole market to fall yesterday.

Art Hogan is chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. He says the bar for companies is so low right now, it could actually work in investors' favor:

Art Hogan: So to the extent that we able to see numbers come in better than those expectations, you might actually find this to be something that the market rallies on.

Several analysts are counting on banking stocks to lead the charge. A change in the accounting rules last week could help them pump up their reported profits.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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