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Stocks Post Moderate Gains Ahead of Alcoa’s Earnings Report

Michael Teague is a staff writer for Equities.com. His previous experience includes three years as the associate editor of Los Angeles-based Al Jadid Magazine, a bi-annual review of the arts & culture of the Middle East, where he contributed many articles on the region in the form of features and book & film reviews. His educational background includes a BA in French literature from the University of California, Irvine, where he developed a startling proclivity for anything having to do with the 19th century.
Michael Teague is a staff writer for Equities.com. His previous experience includes three years as the associate editor of Los Angeles-based Al Jadid Magazine, a bi-annual review of the arts & culture of the Middle East, where he contributed many articles on the region in the form of features and book & film reviews. His educational background includes a BA in French literature from the University of California, Irvine, where he developed a startling proclivity for anything having to do with the 19th century.
Wall Street recovered ever so slightly on Monday ahead of aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, Inc.'s (AA) inaugural report of the first quarter earnings season.The S&P clocked the highest gain at

Wall Street recovered ever so slightly on Monday ahead of aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, Inc.’s (AA) inaugural report of the first quarter earnings season.

The S&P clocked the highest gain at 0.63 percent, or 1,563.07 points, while the Nasdaq ended up 0.57 percent to 3,222.25, with the Dow gaining 0.33 percent to 14,613.48.

Last week was the worst so far for U.S. markets in 2013, end-capped by the Labor Department’s weak jobs report released on Friday.  There is significant anticipation about what sort of picture the slew of earnings statements that will begin coming out this week will likely paint of the slowly recovering U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, newly appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew started the week off in Europe bemoaning the consequences of the rather severe austerity policies that have reduced budget deficits of troubled countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy, and most recently Cyprus less than hoped for, while damaging economic growth.

The S&P was held up by WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX), up 5.45 percent to $17.03, who announced that its Niobara Shale well in the Piceance Basin in Western Colorado surpassed 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas production in a little over 100 days of pumping. Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) was up 3.18 percent to $115.12 after announcing that one week in, its new pumping operation at the Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel was producing 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

On the downside of the S&P was Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), with a loss of 1.66 percent to close at $95.96, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) lost 1.51 percent to close at $80.80.

The Dow was led up by Coca-Cola (KO), up 1.73 percent to $20.35, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) up 1.68 percent to $58.67 and Bank of America (BAC), up 1.67 percent to $12.17.  Alcoa ended the day with a gain of 1.33 percent, closing at $8.35, ahead of its highly anticipated earnings statement is released after closing.

Meanwhile the Dow was weighed down by tech stocks, including AT&T Inc. (T) down 1.21 percent to $37.56, followed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), IBM Corp. (IBM), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ).

Notable performances on the Nasdaq were put up by Lufkin Industries, the oil and gas services company, whose shares skyrocketed nearly 38 percent to $87.92 after it was announced that the company’s board had given the green light to a $3 billion acquisition by General Electric (GE).

News Corp. (NWSA) ended the day at a gain of 2.50 percent to $31.41 after being the first in a line of broadcast TV networks to threaten to move its programming to cable after a court ruling giving the small web-based company Aereo the right to rebroadcast content on the internet without paying the usual fees.