U.S. stocks edge up ahead of earning season

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

New York, NY, United States (AHN) – U.S. stocks moved up slightly Monday morning as earning season gets underway.

Right out of the gate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10 points, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up less than a point and the NASDAQ was better by 5 points.

The early rise on Monday followed the previous week’s gains that sent U.S. stocks 1.2 percent higher, or up 142 points, for the shortened first week of trading in the new year.

Investors appear to be hopeful ahead of a meeting between French and German leaders, and the unofficial kickoff of earnings reporting season.

The key European meeting, in preparation for the next eurozone summit at the end of the month, is not expected to produce any concrete results. However, investors are optimistically hanging on for any signs of progress regarding the region’s new eurozone pact.

China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 2.9 percent after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao indicated over the weekend that the stock market should be supported.

In commodities, gold futures were down $ 1.80 to $ 1,615.80 a troy ounce, while silver edged higher by a quarter to $ 28.99. Oil was lower by 0.3 percent to $ 101.29 a barrel.

In corporate news, investors and traders will keep a sharp eye on Alcoa. The aluminum maker reports fourth-quarter results after the bell, in what is traditionally considered the start of earnings season. Forecasts are for the company to show a loss of a penny a share on revenue of $ 5.76 billion.

In morning trading, shares of Alcoa were last quoted at $ 9.30, up 1.53 percent.

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