U.S. stocks ended Monday's session in the red as investors turned their focus toward the kick-off of Q4 earnings season. Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) is the first major company scheduled to release earnings. AA will report its latest results after Tuesday's closing bell.
Q4 earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. Even though AA will kick off the earnings season, a number of firms have already reported in the so-called pre-season. According to Thomson Reuters' data, 62% of the 21 companies that have already reported Q4 earnings have topped expectations.
With the fiscal cliff averted, and the next showdown regarding the debt ceiling not a concern until next month, traders expect corporate results to dictate market direction in the coming weeks.
U.S. Bank Settlement
In company news, Monday, federal regulators reached an $8.5 billion settlement with ten banks over foreclosure abuses relating to the robo-signing scandal. The banks involved in the deal included Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and six others.
In commodities, oil futures ended up 0.1% at $93.13 a barrel. Trading was range bound with traders reluctant to choose a direction ahead of earnings season and more data into U.S. crude stockpiles. Gold futures settled down 0.11% at $1,646.30 an ounce, their third straight session of losses, as investors remained concerned that the Fed may end its quantitative easing program this year.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
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