The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.41%) has shed 37 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a lower start to the stock market today. Global indexes mostly fell overnight as trading volumes continued to bump along near their lows for the year. European stocks fell for their third day in a row, but were down just 0.35% as of 8:30 a.m. EDT.
In breaking news, Apple (AAPL 0.83%) investors got some fresh inside information about their company from an article in today's Wall Street Journal. The newspaper interviewed over a dozen current and former employees to get a picture of how CEO Tim Cook is putting his own stamp on Apple's culture and operations since taking over for Steve Jobs.
From the Beats Electronics acquisition, to the stock split, to the new dividend and share buyback plans, many of Cook's changes have been applauded by investors. But the article highlights some potential worries for shareholders on the innovation front, including that Apple may be "spreading itself too thin," as some employees put it, by pursuing many product ideas at once rather than maintaining the kind of extreme focus that led to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad breakthroughs. The article also cites a few inside sources who said that Apple is working toward releasing a smartwatch and larger iPhone model in the fall. The stock was up 0.3% in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile, earnings season unofficially begins later today when Alcoa (AA) delivers its second-quarter numbers after the closing bell. Analysts expect the aluminum giant to book $0.12 a share in earnings, up from the $0.07 it posted in the year-ago period. Sales should fall by 3% to $5.7 billion. CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said in a press release back in April that Alcoa's "transformation is accelerating," and shareholders will be watching for more evidence of that recovery. That evidence should show up in profitability gains. Alcoa's EBITDA margin improved to 12.3% last quarter from 11.8% a year before, despite a big drop in aluminum prices. More performance gains should push that figure up in the quarter that just closed, helping the company log a solid earnings improvement. Alcoa's stock was up 0.3% in pre-market trading.