The earnings season is when a large number of publicly traded companies release their quarterly earnings reports. The earnings season is so far topping Street views at a pace above typical quarters.

The unofficial kickoff to the earnings season is the release of results by Alcoa (NYSE: AA), which is a major aluminum producer and Dow Jones Industrial Average component, as it is one of the first major companies to release earnings after the end of each quarter.

There is no official end to the earnings season, but it is considered to be over when most major companies have released their quarterly earnings reports, which generally occurs about six weeks after the start of the season.

The season is a very active time in the market as participants (analysts, traders and investors) review the earnings reports, which may affect their positions on or in a company.

There is extensive media coverage of the major earnings releases from a general recap of the earnings to reporting on whether the companies missed, met or beat analyst expectations.

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The major companies that reported results during the past two weeks are: Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), The Coca Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), McDonald's Corp. (MCD), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

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