Stocks open higher

Stocks open higher
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 9:11am

Stocks opened slightly higher Tuesday, boosted by a relatively auspicious start to earnings season from aluminum producer Alcoa.

Alcoa reported earnings late Monday that beat analyst expectations but sales missed forecasts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq moved up between 0.1% and 0.2%.

Alcoa is often considered a proxy for corporate results since it's typically the first Dow component to report.

Consider this: Over the past 10 years, when Alcoa beat earnings estimates, the S&P 500 rose an average 4.4% during the following three months, according to FactSet, which forecast overall earnings growth to contract 0.6%.

Mega-banks JPMorgan and Wells Fargo are set to release quarterly results later this week.

After this year's strong run, most analysts expect investors to periodically tap on the brakes. All three major indexes have rallied 8% to 12% since January, and the Dow and S&P 500 have both set new record highs this month.

U.S. stocks cut early losses to finish higher Monday, rebounding from one of their worst weeks of the year.

In corporate news, J.C. Penney shares sank sharply, a day after the retailer announced that it was replacing CEO Ron Johnson with his predecessor, Mike Ullman.

European markets were higher in afternoon trading, helped by news of falling inflation in China, which also boosted the Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng. Japan's Nikkei was flat.

London's FTSE 100, the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.2% and 0.6%.

The dollar fell against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil prices dipped slightly, while gold edged rose.

The price of the 10-year Treasury edged higher, pushing the yield up to 1.73% from 1.75% Monday.

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