Wall Street investors brace for earnings kickoff

LONDON -- U.S. stock futures were battening down the hatches ahead of the kickoff of corporate earnings season later Tuesday.

DowJones Industrial Average index stock futures were off 0.1% at 13,300,Standard & Poor's 500 futures were down 0.1% at 1,454 and Nasdaq-100futures declined 0.1% at 2,715.

Aluminum maker Alcoa reports its earnings after the market closes Tuesday, marking the official start to earnings season.

Itwill be Wall Street's first look at just how much business was affectedby the uncertainty caused by the so-called fiscal cliff negotiationsthat ended with an eleventh-hour deal on New Year's Day and thedisruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy, the worst storm to hit the U.S.since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Allthree of the major U.S. benchmarks ended Monday's trading session inthe red. The Dow lost 0.4%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.3% and the Nasdaqfell 0.1%.

Benchmarks in Europe and Asia were following a downward trajectory ahead of the U.S. market open on Tuesday.


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