* Alcoa shares rise after positive outlook for the year
* Clearwire rises after DISH offer, Sprint falls
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on
Wednesday after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with
better-than-expected revenue and an encouraging outlook for the
The market's rise came after two-days of declines as there
were few catalysts to give direction and investors fretted about
the start of earnings season after the prior quarter's
Alcoa Inc said late on Tuesday it expects global
demand for aluminum to grow in 2013, though the company
expressed concern about the impact on business from a
confrontation in Washington over the U.S. budget. Shares of
Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, rose 0.5 percent to
Profits were expected to beat the previous quarter's meager
0.1 percent rise. Both earnings and revenues in the fourth
quarter were expected to grow by 1.9 percent, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
But the lowered expectations leave room for companies to
surprise investors even if their results aren't particularly
strong, analysts said.
The current quarter was shaping up like the one before, with
companies lowering expectations in recent weeks, James Dailey,
portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in Harrisburg,
"So the big question and focus is on revenue, and Alcoa had
better-than-expected revenue," calming the market a little,
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 73.35 points,
or 0.55 percent, at 13,402.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 5.16 points, or 0.35 percent, at 1,462.31. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.83 points, or 0.48
percent, at 3,106.64.
Among other earnings, Constellation Brands, whose
labels include Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wines, reported
higher profit and raised its earnings forecast. The stock was
down 0.8 percent at $35.74.
Apollo Group Inc slid more than 11 percent after it
reported lower student sign-ups for the third straight quarter
and cut its operating profit outlook for 2013. Apollo's shares
were last at $18.63.
Dish Network Corp late Tuesday announced a bid for
Clearwire Corp that trumped Sprint Nextel Corp's
$2.2 billion offer, setting the stage for a battle over the
wireless service provider.
Dish Network shares were up 2.1 percent at $36.73. Clearwire
was up 7.5 percent at $3.14, while Sprint lost 2 percent to
Hard drive maker Seagate Technology rose 4.2 percent
to $32.70 after it raised its second-quarter revenue forecast.