* Alcoa shares rise after positive outlook for the year
* Clearwire rises after DISH offer, Sprint falls
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday
after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with
better-than-expected revenue and an encouraging outlook for the
Alcoa Inc said it expects global demand for aluminum
will continue to grow in 2013, though the company kept a
cautious tone as worries lingered over a looming U.S. budget
confrontation. Shares of Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in
the United States, rose 0.5 percent to $9.18.
Still, investors are wary about the outcome of the
fourth-quarter earnings season. Profits were expected to beat
the previous quarter's lackluster results, but analyst estimates
were down sharply from where they were in October. Earnings were
expected to grow by 2.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters
But the lowered expectations leave room for companies to
surprise investors even if their results aren't particularly
strong, analysts said.
"Clearly no one is expecting a stellar earnings season.
With the number of companies that lowered guidance over the last
few weeks, I think there's some concern that we could see
companies disappoint," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at
Edward Jones in St. Louis.
"However, based on the fact that many companies have
lowered guidance, that means they've put the bar so low they
could crawl over it, and I would expect what we'll see is some
relief as earnings come in."
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.00 points,
or 0.50 percent, to 13,395.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 5.50 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,462.65. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 10.07 points, or 0.33
percent, to 3,101.88.
Among other earnings, Constellation Brands, whose
labels include Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wines, rose 0.4
percent to $36.30 after it reported higher profit and raised its
Apollo Group Inc slid about 10 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 $18.83.
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.
Clearwire was up 7.5 percent at $3.14, while Sprint lost 2
percent to $5.85.
Hard drive maker Seagate Technology rose 4.6 percent
to $32.83 after it raised its second-quarter revenue forecast.