The U.S. markets are building off of the giant gains posted on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) up over a half a percent at midday. The rally is fueled by companies with exposure to global growth as eurozone debt worries ease while the European Central Bank president continues to support plans to decrease sovereign debt yields in ailing member countries.  

Domestically, earnings season is starting to wrap up, with more than 80% of the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) already reporting. Although six of the 10 sectors are experiencing slowing growth rates, 65% of the 407 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings have beaten analysts' estimates, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Index

Gain/Loss

Gain/Loss %

Dow Jones Industrial Average

66.67

0.51%

S&P 500

6.12

0.44%

Nasdaq

25.78

0.87%

WTI Crude

(0.31)

(0.33%)

Source: Yahoo!  Finance as of 12:15 p.m. EDT.

The energy sector is showing a considerable contraction, and we will see if that trend continues after the markets close today with three natural gas companies releasing their second-quarter results.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) has lost close to a quarter of its market cap so far in 2012, with natural gas prices and questionable management being the main reasons for the haircut. The United States' second-largest natural gas producer will need to show investors measures are in place to rein in the spending so the company can focus on reducing its wide funding gap.

Chesapeake's long-term strategy is to reap significant profits from its vast land resources once natural gas prices return to pre-2008 levels. One company that can help increase demand for natural gas by building infrastructure and refueling stations is Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE). Clean Energy has a monumental task ahead of it, and investors need to hold a long-term view, as the conversion from oil-based fuels to natural gas will be a long and potentially profitable road. Clean Energy Fuels is expected to report revenue just north of $80 million, a 15% year-over-year increase and an EPS loss of $0.18. If you have been following Clean Energy and want to learn more about the company before you add it to your portfolio, then you'll want to read our new premium report detailing key opportunities and risks for this growth company. Better yet, this report will keep you informed with timely updates when news strikes. You can purchase this outstanding report here.

Heckmann (NYSE: HEK) is also releasing earnings tonight. The water and waste water solutions company is expected to report its strongest quarter after its acquisition of Thermo Fluids, now called Heckmann Environmental Services. The expanded business is expected to show a revenue increase of 110% from the prior year's quarter and EPS of $0.02.