Markets Brace for 2Q Earnings

It’s back to the races today on Wall Street.

After taking the weekend to digest another dismal jobs report, will investors follow through with last week’s declines, or was the selling enough?

The major averages finished broadly lower on Friday after the government said just 80,000 jobs were added in June. For all of last week, only the Nasdaq Composite managed a slight gain, closing higher for the fifth week in a row.

Futures Monday morning are indicating a lower start. However, many investors will be waiting for what happens after the close today, when Dow component and aluminum giant Alcoa (NYSEAA) kicks off the second-quarter earnings season.

Alcoa faces higher energy costs and lower aluminum prices, not to mention, the U.S. dollar is up 5% against a basket of major currencies in the April to June period. That hurts companies in the S&P 500 (like Alcoa) that do a good deal of business overseas, since it makes their products more expensive for foreigners to buy.

Stock analysts expect earnings for the S&P 500 to decline 1% -- breaking a streak of 10 quarters of gains -- because of the increased problems tied to the European debt crisis and a further slowdown in China.

Huge multinationals that have already raised the yellow flag include Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Tiffany (NYSE:TIF), to name a few.

McDonald’s, for instance, does 40% of its annual business in Europe.

J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM) will report its earnings on Friday the 13th, and six companies in the S&P 500 report this week as well.

Meanwhile, if you need a morning pick me up, and don’t like coffee, how about soda? Some fast-food giants are looking to promote soda in the morning to offset proposed limits on sugary drinks that could steal their profits.

Steak 'n Shake and some Taco Bell and Sonic locations are offering deals, like the new “MTN Dew A.M.” in select California Taco Bells (that’s an orange juice and Mountain Dew mix) and 99-cent fountain drinks at the "Morning Drink Stop" at some Sonics.