US STOCKS-Wall St gains on early earnings optimism
* Tesla climbs on news it will be added to Nasdaq 100 index
* Intuitive Surgical slumps after revenue forecast
* Barnes & Noble CEO resigns, shares rise
* Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P 500 up 0.6 pct, Nasdaq up 0.5 pct
By Alison Griswold
NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a fourth straight advance after Alcoa's earnings sparked moderate optimism at the start of the earnings season.
Alcoa Inc, the first Dow component to release results for the second quarter, reported adjusted profit and revenue above Wall Street's forecasts after the market's close on Monday. Alcoa also said it sees solid growth in global demand for its products this year.
While Alcoa's stock gave up initial gains to trade nearly flat at $7.91, the S&P materials index gained 1.2 percent. Alcoa's results increased confidence about an earnings season forecast to show lackluster growth.
The S&P 500 advanced broadly, with nine of the 10 industry sector indexes higher and industrial shares recording the biggest gains. The benchmark index has gained more than 2 percent over the past four sessions. The S&P 500 is 1.1 percent below its all-time closing high of 1,669.16 reached on May 21.
"I would think that the trend is going to be up," said Jeff Meyerson, head of trading for Sunrise Securities in New York. "We could at any time have a substantial correction again, but I think we still have a trend that's doing OK. That will be determined by how the earnings come out in the next few weeks."
Analysts said institutional and retail investors have returned to the market, despite mixed economic data. The latest rally has come on the heels of a better-than-expected June jobs report released on Friday.
Volatility has plunged in recent weeks on waning fears about imminent reductions in the Federal Reserve's $85 billion a month of bond purchases. The Market Volatility Index, Wall Street's favorite barometer of investor fear, has tumbled 34.6 percent since late June.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 74.15 points, or 0.49 percent, at 15,298.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 10.15 points, or 0.62 percent, at 1,650.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 18.22 points, or 0.52 percent, at 3,503.05.
Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning showed that analysts expect S&P 500 companies' earnings to grow 2.9 percent in the quarter from a year ago, while revenue is forecast to increase 1.5 percent over the same period.
The earnings calendar remains fairly light this week until Friday, when JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are scheduled to report.
Barnes & Noble Inc shares gained 3.6 percent to $18.30 after the book retailer's Chief Executive William Lynch resigned.
Tesla Motors Inc jumped 1.9 percent to $123.91 as Nasdaq OMX Group Inc said it will replace Oracle Corp in the Nasdaq 100 stock index, reflecting the rising profile of the U.S. electric car maker.
Intuitive Surgical shares slid 17.5 percent to $412.49 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. Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Kroger gained 2.7 percent to $37.15 while Harris Teeter rose 1.5 percent to $49.24.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from its June policy meeting. Investors will eye the minutes for any clues into the timing of possible trimming of stimulus measures.
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