Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA)
 Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) edged higher in after-hours trading. Reuters

Earnings season kicks off next week, with America's biggest aluminum producer, Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), announcing its fourth-quarter earnings results on Jan. 8.

Analysts expect Alcoa, a Dow Jones Industrials component, to reverse a year-ago loss despite an expected 6 percent drop in revenue when it reports fourth-quarter results, but the real key will be any guidance the aluminum giant gives for the coming year.

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa is seen as a barometer for global manufacturing, with its products used by construction firms, airlines, automakers and home-appliance manufacturers.

While S&P 500 companies have shown an impressive ability to beat analysts’ earnings estimates, sluggish economic growth in the U.S. has made it hard for these companies to boost their revenues. Despite low expectations, about 60 percent of S&P 500 companies missed sales forecasts in both the third and the third quarters of 2012. That’s well above the 38 percent of S&P 500 companies that fall short of expectations in a typical quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

Analysts expect many of the earnings trends for 2012 to remain in place in 2013, raising the prospect of a new year full of slow earnings growth.

We ran a screen and produced a list of five notable companies set to report their earnings Jan. 8-11. We have highlighted their expected reporting dates and times, along with analysts' EPS and revenue estimates from Reuters, as well as the stocks' year-to-date performances.

Friday BMO:

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is a bank holding company. The company has a market cap of $183.2 billion. It is expected to report FY 2012 fourth-quarter EPS of 90 cents on revenue of $21.29 billion, compared with a profit of 73 cents a share on revenue of $20.61 billion in the year-ago period. Wells Fargo is trading around $34.81 a share. Over the past 12 months, the stock has gained 26.31 percent.