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Will Alcoa’s Earnings Provide Clues for Investors?

Wall Street analysts expect Alcoa (AA) to report a slight loss when it kicks off the fourth-quarter earnings season this afternoon. Will it be a sign of more disappointments to come?

Alcoa is expected to report a one-cent-per-share loss for the fourth quarter, significantly weaker than both the third quarter and the same quarter a year ago. Because the aluminum maker produces a basic material that’s used in many different industries, it’s tempting for investors to view Alcoa’s results as a gauge for the global economy’s health. But investors shouldn’t read too much into this one report, says Bridget Freas, a Morningstar stock analyst. “Even though this is a company that touches a lot of important sectors of the economy, what’s really driving the change in earnings from quarter to quarter is the price of aluminum,” Freas says. And because aluminum is traded on an exchange, its price depends as much on market sentiment about the global economy as it does on simple demand for the product, she says.

That said, investing pros say there are other reasons this season could be weak. For starters, analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 to come in slightly lower than third-quarter earnings did, and if that proves true, it would be the first sequential decline in earnings since the end of 2008, says Keith Hembre, the chief investment strategist and chief economist for Nuveen Asset Management. And slower earnings growth will likely still translate to weak stock-market returns, he says, adding:  “I think investors should be prepared for modest returns with a fair amount of volatility.”

What’s more, companies are now entering a period where the comparisons to earnings a year ago will be more difficult, says Rodney Johnson, the president of HS Dent. “Weak 2010 earnings made 2011 earnings look pretty good,” he says. “Now you’re comparing against pretty good earnings from a year ago.” His recommendation for this environment: Build a defensive portfolio with high-quality bonds. “Go short the market if you feel like you’re that aggressive, but caution is the word,” he says.

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      I have a four machine network in my house and want to change the name from "My Computer" on one machine to something else. How can I do that
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      I have a four machine network in my house and want to change the name from
      "My Computer" on one machine to something else. How can I do that so that
      the new name will "stick" even after a reboot? I can’t get the new name to
      remain after a reboot even though the one at my office does. Thanks!
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    • By WebOsPublisher

      I saw some time ago a post where somebody had said ,how to change My computer icon ,or any other icons which belongs to desktop .I would like to get this link ,or strait info about,- how to do this . http://www.ezboard.com/intl/aenglish/image/ez_icons/emoticons/roll.gif

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      March 25th, 2001 07:17 PM
      #1
      HomerJSimpson
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      Change My computer icon
      I saw some time ago a post where somebody had said , how to change My computer icon ,or any other icons which belongs to desktop .I would like to get this link ,or strait info about, – how to do this .
      ——————
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      March 25th, 2001 07:59 PM
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      VerLux
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      In lieu of an exotic registry hack, may I suggest WinBoost.com.
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      March 25th, 2001 08:08 PM
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      Reg hack? How about the "Effects" tab in the Display Properties? That’s much easier… Or are you writing a script or something to automate the process?
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      March 25th, 2001 08:12 PM
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      Just go to Display Properties\Effects and choose Change Icon.
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      March 25th, 2001 08:24 PM
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      Thanks guys , I want to use icon for my computer founded on the web .And I can’t get this to appear in Display properties / effects . [img] sonicunderground.net/shq/smilies/angelic.gif[/img]
      ——————
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      March 25th, 2001 10:39 PM
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      Thanks Mosaic . I have tried that , but I can not see any of my pics in browse window .
      I think I need to convert those pics in diferent format , or something , if so which format should I convert to , and what programs are available for converting ?
      I keep in JPEG and GIF most of my pics .
      ——————
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      March 25th, 2001 10:49 PM
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      HomerJSimpson
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      Thanks again Mosaic , what would we do with out you ?I got Irfanview , and will try it now . Thanks .
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      March 25th, 2001 10:54 PM
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      Yeah , worked like a charm .Thanks.
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