Everyone loves to focus on Alcoa and make a big deal of their earnings report due to the fact that they lead off earnings season. This is a classic Wall Street mistake. Alcoa is a debt bloated, highly inefficient company with very lumpy earnings. Their earnings are not a reliable barometer of earnings growth. This is a company that consistently reports cash charges and has a notoriously confusing balance sheet. Regardless, they consistently miss earnings (missed 5 of the last 7) and rarely provide any guidance or outlook that gives investors an idea of the actual economic environment. In other words, ignore the AA earnings report. The true feel for this earnings season won’t come until early next week. Ignore the pundits between now and then.