* Alcoa's better-than-expected results boost investor
* Dollar strengthens on hope end of bitter winter to boost
* Brent oil rises toward $108 a barrel on Ukraine worries
(Adds opening of U.S. markets, changes dateline; previous
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, April 9 U.S. and European equity
markets rose on Wednesday after Alcoa's better-than-expected
results boosted investor sentiment on first-quarter corporate
earnings, while the dollar gained on hopes for higher U.S.
economic growth after a bitter winter.
Alcoa's earnings came in ahead of analysts' expectations in
the first three months of the year late on Tuesday even as the
company's adjusted profit fell on declining aluminum prices.
Shares of Alcoa gained 4.3 percent to $13.065, vying
for the best performer spot among components of the benchmark
S&P 500 index.
Earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are projected to have
increased just 1 percent from last year's first quarter, Thomson
Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start
of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.
"These kinds of consolidation rallies really take time to
shake out the emotion that goes with both sides," said Rick
Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management
in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"Earnings will really help give this market some forward
direction, but they are in front of us and haven't really hit
yet," Meckler said.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading
regional shares rose 0.3 percent, while MSCI's all-country
equity index rose 0.22 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 39.82 points,
or 0.24 percent, to 16,295.96. The S&P 500 gained 4.61
points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,856.57 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 26.465 points, or 0.64 percent, to 4,139.451.
The dollar rebounded from one of its worst performances
against the yen as the outlook for the greenback brightened on
expectations for stronger economic data.
The dollar posted its largest one-day fall versus the yen in
more than seven months on Tuesday, with investors buying back
the Japanese currency after the Bank of Japan held off on
additional monetary easing. The greenback's bounce on Wednesday
was the first in four days.
"Our view going into 2014 is broad-based dollar rally
predicated on the acceleration of the U.S. economy and rising
U.S. rates," said Mark McCormick, currency strategist at Credit
Agricole in New York.
After hitting lows of 101.52 yen in U.S. trade on
Tuesday, the dollar recovered to trade 0.05 percent higher at
101.84. The euro was up 0.2 percent against the yen at 140.77
Against the dollar, the euro was up 0.2 percent at
U.S. Treasuries prices fell as traders trimmed their bond
holdings in advance of a $21 billion auction of 10-year notes
and the Federal Reserve's release of the record of its policy
meeting last month.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down
4/32 in price to yield 2.705 percent.
"Treasuries have had a good run. There's some risk with this
week's supply," said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist at
Prudential Fixed Income in Newark, New Jersey.
Brent crude rose toward $108 a barrel as rising tension
between Russia and Ukraine overshadowed the bearish impact of a
substantial rise in crude oil stockpiles in the United States.
While the Ukraine crisis may not directly impact global oil
supplies and trade, the risk premium on oil is rising as
investors worry the Kremlin's stand-off with the West could
quickly take a turn for the worse.
Brent crude rose 19 cents to $107.86 a barrel. U.S.
oil rose 21 cents to $102.77.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Additional reporting by Marc Jones
in London; Editing by Dan Grebler)