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The Markets Now: Stocks Slightly Lower Ahead of Earnings Season

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Plus, Google may announce tomorrow that Austin, Texas, will be next location for the Google Fiber project.

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Stocks have remained lower today as investors wait for Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and others to begin reporting earnings for the first quarter of 2013. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) decreased 0.31% to 14,520.40. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 0.09% to 1,551.90, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.09% to 3,200.87. Here are the companies that will kick off earnings season today for the first quarter of 2013.

The US Treasury announced today that it will auction $45 billion worth of 4-week Treasury bills tomorrow. The US Treasury also announced today that it auctioned $35 billion worth of 3-month Treasury bills at a 0.065% rate with a bid-to-cover ratio of 4.87 and auctioned $30 billion worth of 6-month Treasury bills at a 0.095% with a bid-to-cover ratio of 4.95.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the Atlanta Fed Conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia at 6 p.m. EDT tonight.

Alcoa increased 0.06% to $8.24. After the closing today, according to Bloomberg, 18 analysts expect Alcoa (the first member of the Dow to release results) to report a profit of $0.08 per share versus $0.10 per share in the prior year quarter.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) fell 1.62% to $770.83. Some expect Google will announce in Austin, Texas, tomorrow that the city will be the next location of the Google Fiber project. Analysts at Bernstein project it will cost $11 billion to build gigabit Internet and TV service for another 20 million homes.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) dropped 1.61% to $80.72. JPMorgan analyst Michael Weinstein downgraded the medical company from Overweight to Neutral, citing the fact that the stock's 30% price increase since the beginning of 2013 reflects the company's fundamentals. Weinstein has a price target of $83.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) rose 1.40% to $26.81. First Solar's Executive Vice President James Brown agreed to step down a day before the company will discuss its annual outlook with analysts and investors.

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) fell 1.46% to $30.45. The Dow Personal Care unit of Dow Chemical entered into a distribution agreement with Nexeo Solutions. Nexeo distributes chemicals, plastics, composites, and environmental services globally.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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