There’s finally something other than the Federal Reserve and “tapering” for traders to obsess over. At the beginning of last week, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) unofficially kicked off second-quarter earnings season. If you’re wondering how things are going thus far, here’s a hint: The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) proceeded to finish the week at a new all-time high of 1,680, up by 2.4%.
Now, it should be noted that Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) is no longer the economic bellwether it once was. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, “It is not only a cliche that Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) ‘sets the tone’ for earnings season — it is also no longer really true.”
But while it isn’t the bellwether of old, that’s a far cry from saying that its results are irrelevant. It’s for this reason that investors collectively exhaled when the aluminum giant reported better-than-expected earnings per share of $0.07 compared with a consensus estimate of $0.06 per share. On top of this, as my colleague Dan Carroll noted at the time, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) still expects global aluminum demand to rise as much as 7% this year.
The best news of the week came on Friday, with the release of earnings from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC). Both banks reported stellar quarters. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) earned $1.60 a share, compared with the consensus estimate of $1.45. And Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC)’s earnings per share of $0.98 beat forecasts by $0.05.
Moreover, the icing on the cake was what the respective CEOs had to say about the economy. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)’s Jamie Dimon noted, “We continue to see broad-based signs that the U.S. economy is improving and we are hopeful that, as jobs are added and confidence builds, the U.S. economy will strengthen over time.” And Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC)’s John Stumpf expressed unqualified optimism about the “improvements we are seeing throughout the economy.”
What does this mean going forward? While this is still too small of a sample size to generalize, it’s impossible to deny that earnings season is off to a good start. Up next week are a multitude of giants, including The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) on Tuesday, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) on Wednesday, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Thursday, and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) on Friday. Stay tuned in to Fool.com to get the latest news on these companies.
The article Earnings Season: So Far, So Good originally appeared on Fool.com is written by John Maxfield.
John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America and Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Intel, and Wells Fargo and (NYSE:WFC) owns shares of Bank of America, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo.
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