3 Top Stocks Kicking Off Earnings Season Today

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) is set to announce its earnings for the fiscal third quarter after the closing bell on Tuesday, and all eyes will be on the fast-food giant’s profits from Chinese operations.

Investors are hoping that Yum – which owns the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC chains – will return to its winning ways in China, where it has traditionally enjoyed solid profit growth thanks to ever-increasing demand. However, that trend was broken in the second quarter as adjusted operating profit at its Chinese operations dipped 4 percent.

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Yum blamed increasing start-up costs associated with its rapid opening of new Chinese locations and assured shareholders that the downturn would be short-lived. The company projected a return to double-digit growth in Chinese business for the second half of the year, and investors will be eager to see if that was indeed the case when Yum releases its third-quarter reports.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) reports its third-quarter results Tuesday after the markets close, and experts believe the company’s numbers may set the tone for a lackluster earnings season.

The aluminum manufacturer is expected to post break-even results on a per-share basis for the third quarter thanks to a slowdown in worldwide manufacturing and weakened prices. Bad news for Alcoa typically spells poor economic performance trends in general, given the widespread use of aluminum in production.

Alcoa’s third-quarter revenue is expected to be $5.57 billion, down from $6.42 billion in revenues for the same quarter one year ago.

The news is not expected to be good when ADTRAN (NASDAQ:ADTN) reports its earnings for the fiscal third quarter on Wednesday.

Analysts estimate the company’s revenues will drop 15.7 percent to $162.1 million and that average earnings per share could fall to 18 cents per share.

By comparison, ADTRAN recorded fiscal second-quarter revenues of $184 million and GAAP earnings per share of 33 cents per share.

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