* Alcoa shares down after positive outlook for the year
* Fourth-quarter earnings, revenues seen up 1.9 pct
* Herbalife up 4.2 pct on news hedge fund manager Loeb took
* Indexes finish up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.5
By Gabriel Debenedetti
NEW YORK, Jan 9 U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday,
as the first group of earnings reports started to trickle in,
without giving a clear direction of how well corporations did
during the fourth quarter.
The gains were the first of the week after stocks retreated
from the S&P 500's highest point in five years, hit last Friday.
Worries about a weak earnings season contributed to a pullback
in stocks earlier in the week.
Herbalife Ltd stock rose 4.2 percent to $39.95 in
its most active day of trading in the company's history, after
hedge fund manager Dan Loeb took a large stake in the
nutritional supplements seller. Prominent short-seller Bill
Ackman had previously accused the company of being a "pyramid
scheme," which Herbalife has denied.
Shares of Alcoa Inc were down 0.5 percent to $9.08
after early gains, following the company's earnings release
after the bell on Tuesday. The largest U.S. aluminum producer
said it expects global demand for aluminum to grow in
Traders have been cautious as the current quarter shaped up
like the previous one, with companies recently lowering
expectations, said James Dailey, portfolio manager of Team Asset
Strategy Fund in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Lower expectations
leave room for companies to surprise investors even if their
results are not particularly strong.
"The big question and focus is on revenue, and Alcoa had
better-than-expected revenue," which calmed the market a little,
Overall, corporate profits were expected to beat the
previous quarter's meager 0.1 percent rise. Both earnings and
revenues in the fourth quarter are expected to have grown by 1.9
percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 61.66 points,
or 0.46 percent, to 13,390.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 3.87 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,461.02. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 14.00 points, or 0.45
percent, to 3,105.81.
Facebook Inc shares rose above $30 for the first time
since July 2012, trading up 5.3 percent at $30.59. Facebook,
which has been tight-lipped about its plans after its botched
IPO in May, invited the media to its headquarters next week.
Clearwire Corp shares jumped 7.2 percent to $3.13
after Dish Network bid $2.28 billion for the company,
beating out a previous Sprint offer and setting the stage
for a takeover battle for the wireless service provider that
owns crucial mobile spectrum.
Apollo Group Inc slid after heavier early losses, a
day after it reported lower student sign-ups for the third
straight quarter and cut its operating profit outlook for 2013.
Apollo's shares were last off 7.8 percent at $19.32.
Volume was below the 2012 average of 6.42 billion shares
traded per day, as 6.10 billion were traded on the New York
Stock Exchange, NYSE MKT and Nasdaq.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by
2,014 to 963, while on the Nasdaq advancers beat decliners 1,603