In the video above, Fool.com analyst Joel South discusses economic bellwether Alcoa's (NYSE: AA ) upcoming earnings release, which is slated for tomorrow. As the No. 1 aluminum producer in the world, Alcoa is active in all major aspects of the industry, from technology and mining to fabricating and recycling. With such a wide reach, this is one company that flows down to affect many others in the consumer and industrial sectors. A strong start to the earnings season will be good news not only for Alcoa, but also for companies like Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , Ford (NYSE: F ) and other automakers, and miners such as Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) -- to name a few. For the full rundown on what investors should expect and watch for leading up to Alcoa's earnings report, check out the above video.
Being a cyclical company with growing exposure to mining, Caterpillar in particular has the potential to be affected by Alcoa's ups and downs. CAT's quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give a solid competitive advantage as the market share leader in an industry in which size matters. Whether you hold shares of Caterpillar or are considering the competition, investors in this sector would be wise to read up on Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses in our premium research report on the company. To access your copy of the report, simply click here now.