The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up as earnings season prepares to kick off this evening. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow is up 67 points, or 0.44%, to 15,203. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.36% to 1,638.

There were no U.S. economic releases today. After the market close, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) kicks off earnings season when it reports its quarterly earnings. The company has been challenged the past few years by an oversupply in the aluminum market that continues to plague the industry. While Alcoa continues to cut supply by shutting down its highest-cost plants, the aluminum market looks likely to remain challenged by excess capacity in the industry and China's economic slowdown. Wall Street expects earnings per share of $0.06 and revenue of $5.83 billion, while Estimize's crowd-sourced expectations are for EPS of $0.10 and revenue of $5.92 billion

Today's Dow loser is Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), down 3.9%. Intel was downgraded by Evercore from "equal weight" to "underweight" and had its earnings outlook for this quarter lowered by Citigroup from $0.39 to $0.38 per share. Citigroup has a "hold" rating on the chip maker. Intel is dominant in the PC market, but that market is steadily declining. The company is working on building a stronger position in the mobile market, where it lags competitors Qualcomm and ARM. If Intel doesn't succeed in becoming a major presence in the booming wireless and tablet markets, it risks making its products commoditized, which will make the company unable to charge premium prices for its chips.

Today's Dow leader is Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), up 1.8% on no real news. While many people have strong opinions one way or another on the company, Wal-Mart is interestingly one of the five least shorted stocks on the Dow. Wal-Mart has become the world's biggest retailer by staying focused on keeping its costs low and passing them on to consumers. In the long term, Wal-Mart will continue to thrive as this strategy allows the company to profit in both good times and bad.

Dan Dzombak has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.