Just hours before it announced Q3 earnings, Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) was one of the few Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) stocks providing investors with some appreciation today. While most analysts are predicting a flat quarter, with only about $0.01 a share being generated in earnings, the stock ended with a small increase today. Because the estimates are so low, it could be that analysts are optimistic about an earnings surprise to the good side.
The top five on the Dow today were represented by some fairly defensive names in energy (ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) ), aerospace and defense (Boeing (NYSE: BA ) ), and consumer staples (Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) ). Apprehension in the market after the IMF released reduced expectations for global growth this year and next probably has investors feeling a bit more cautious heading into earnings season, so the fact that these stocks are seeing more demand is reasonable.
Keep an eye out for more defensive activity if earnings disappoint early.