Stocks End Higher as Alcoa Earnings Lift Sentiment

Stocks edged higher in trading today after aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) kicked off the latest earnings season on a strong note.

All three major indexes finished higher following two straight days of losses. The Dow Jones ended the day 0.46% higher at 13,390.51, the S&P 500 ended the day 0.27% higher at 1,461.02, and the Nasdaq ended the day 0.45% higher at 3,105.81.

All sectors in the S&P 500 ended the day in green. The gains were led by Consumer Cyclical sector, which ended the day 1.75% higher. Industrials also rallied in trading today, ending the day 0.97% higher. Financials ended the day 0.37% higher. Energy sector ended the day 0.04% higher after trading in red for most of the day. Basic Materials sector rose 0.52%.

Alcoa shares finished marginally lower even as the company reported fourth-quarter earnings that were in-line with consensus forecast. The company also gave a bullish outlook for 2013. Alcoa shares ended the day 0.22% lower at $9.08.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) shares rallied in trading today, crossing $30 mark for the first time in six months, after the company sent out a press event invitation for next week at its Menlo Park campus. Investors and analysts are speculating that the company may introduce a phone or a search engine at the event next week. Facebook shares ended the day 5.26% higher at $30.59.

Other major movers in trading today were Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL), which ended the day 7.69% lower at $19.33, Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR), which ended the day 7.19% higher at $3.13, and DISH Network Inc. (NASDAQ: DISH), which ended the day 2.45% higher at $36.85.

European markets ended mostly higher earlier today, with the FTSE 100 Index in London closing 0.74% higher, and the CAC 40 Index in Paris closing 0.31% higher. Asian markets also rose overnight, with the Nikkei 225 Index in Japan closing 0.67% higher, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong closing 0.46% higher.

edliston

edliston

Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.