US STOCKS-Wall St set to extend rally after Alcoa results

Tue Jul 9, 2013 9:20am EDT

* Alcoa gains after earnings help market optimism

* Tesla rises on news it is to be added to Nasdaq 100 index

* Intuitive Surgical slumps after revenue forecast

* Futures up: Dow 58 pts, S&P 8.7 pts, Nasdaq 15.25 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a higher open on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on pace for a fourth straight advance, after Alcoa's earnings caused moderate optimism at the start of the earnings season.

Alcoa Inc, the first Dow component to report for the second quarter, announced late on Monday adjusted profit and revenue above Wall Street's forecasts. It also said it sees solid growth in global demand for its products this year. Shares of the largest U.S. aluminum producer rose 0.6 percent to $7.97 in premarket trade.

The earnings report boosted confidence for an earnings season currently forecast to show lackluster growth.

"The Alcoa numbers were OK, they weren't knock your socks off," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. "What we are seeing here is some recovery from last month still and optimism about upcoming earnings.

"I have a feeling this will be another one of those seasons where any miss and companies get whacked."

According to Thomson Reuters data through Monday morning, analysts' expectations call for S&P 500 earnings to grow 2.9 percent in the quarter from a year ago, while revenue is forecast to increase 1.5 percent from a year ago.

S&P 500 futures rose 8.7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 58 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 15.25 points.

The earnings calendar remains fairly light this week until Friday when JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co are scheduled to report.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has risen 1.6 percent over the past 3 sessions as jobs and manufacturing data have helped ease concerns over the possible early pullback of stimulus measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P had its first monthly decline in eight months in June on concerns the Fed will begin to wind down its bond purchasing program, seen by many as a primary reason for the rally in equities this year.

The Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from its June meeting on Wednesday, which investors will eye for any clues into a possible trimming of stimulus measures.

Barnes & Noble Inc fell 0.9 percent to $17.51 in premarket trading after the book retailer's Chief Executive William Lynch resigned.

Tesla Motors Inc gained 3 percent to $125.2 before the opening bell as Nasdaq OMX Group Inc said it will replace Oracle Corp on the Nasdaq 100 stock index, reflecting the rising profile of the U.S. electric car maker.

Intuitive Surgical slumped 14.1 percent to $429.60 in premarket trade after the maker of the da Vinci surgical robot said on Monday it expects second-quarter revenue below analysts' expectations.

Grocery store operator Kroger Co said it would acquire Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc in a deal valued at $2.5 billion, including debt, to expand in the U.S. South east and mid-Atlantic states. Kroger gained 1.6 percent to $36.75 while Harris Teeter rose 0.9 percent to $48.95 in premarket action.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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