US STOCKS-Wall St on track for fourth day of gains

Tue Jul 9, 2013 12:58pm EDT

* FedEx up 7 pct, one of day's biggest gainers

* Tesla climbs on news it will be added to Nasdaq 100 index

* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P 500 up 0.6 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct

By Alison Griswold

NEW YORK, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, carrying the S&P 500 closer to all-time highs and putting it on track for a fourth straight advance as earnings season got under way.

Nine of the S&P's 10 industry sector indexes were higher. Industrial and material shares recorded the biggest gains, though Alcoa Inc, the first Dow component to release results for the second quarter, declined 0.5 percent after releasing earnings after Monday's close.

FedEx Corp was the S&P 500's best performer, climbing 7.2 percent to a four-month high of $105.93. The stock was trading at four times its average daily volume.

The benchmark S&P now sits just about 1 percent from its all-time closing high of 1,669.16 reached on May 21 as earnings season ramps up.

"Whether we go through the 1,650 level is key, and if we do then we probably get a retest of the May highs," said Dave Chojnacki, market technician at Street One Financial in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania.

For the most part, investors are expecting second-quarter results to be soft, with weak sales but expectations for a pick-up later in the year.

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 Dow Jones industrial average was up 60.63 points, or 0.40 percent, at 15,285.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 9.51 points, or 0.58 percent, at 1,649.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.11 points, or 0.40 percent, at 3,498.94.

Alcoa reported adjusted profit and revenue above Wall Street forecasts after the market's close on Monday. It said it sees solid growth in global demand for its products this year. The results increased confidence about the earnings season.

Analysts said institutional and retail investors have returned to the market. The latest rally has come on the heels of a better-than-expected June jobs report 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 more than 30 percent since late June.

The earnings calendar remains light until Friday when JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are set to report.

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.

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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