Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are seesawing between positive and negative territory this morning as earnings season begins today with aluminum maker Alcoa (NYSE: AA). The report should give more insight into how the economy is faring these days.

Higher energy prices could continue to pressure consumers. Gas prices are surging ever-closer to $3 per gallon on the back of rising oil prices. Oil’s cost has risen 20% in the last month and is three times what it was a year ago, reports the Associated Press. The timing could have been better: commuters are already shelling out more for heating oil as cold weather sweeps the nation. United States Gasoline (NYSEArca: UGA) is down slightly this morning. [Gas surges, but with a hurdle.]

Things are looking up for the auto industry. So much, in fact, that GM is looking to open some factories in order to accommodate greater demand. No promises from the company yet, but its president stated that plants building certain popular vehicles are at capacity, reports the Associated Press.

Commodity prices are moving higher in early trading after a surge in China’s import growth was reported. The numbers underscore China’s growing demand for raw materials, says Andrea Hotter for The Wall Street Journal. In December, China’s imports surged a much higher-than-expected 56% year-over-year. iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (NYSEArca: GSG) is down slightly this morning. [Another banner year for coal in store?]

The U.S. dollar, after stabilizing in December, seems intent to resume its downward trend this morning. After weakening following the jobs report on Friday, the dollar fell more after weak non-farm payrolls numbers were released, Benzinga reports. The Federal Reserve also stated that U.S. interest rates could remain low for some time, meaning the dollar could stay weakened. PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bearish (NYSEArca: UDN) is up nearly 1% this morning. [For more stories on the world’s currencies, go here.]

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.