Will corporate earnings justify gains?

Investors will look to corporate profits and outlooks next week for confirmation the S&P 500 has another leg to its rally as the earnings season gets under way.

Dow component Alcoa will launch the earnings season after the closing bell on Monday in what is expected to be another solid round of corporate results.

The aluminum producer is expected to report quarterly earnings of 27 cents per share on revenue of $6.07 billion, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

Some top financial names are also expected to report next week, including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N). Google Inc (GOOG.O) is also due to report.

“Earnings are what the market is all about. Earnings are critical in here, guidance is critical in here, the conference calls are critical in here,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

“In terms of earnings and sectors, you basically want to be with those people who have the ability to raise prices or are participating in the commodity price increases,” he said. “And you really don’t want to be in those people who have the input costs increases and are going to see their margins squeezed by rising commodity prices.