* Alcoa rises before reporting earnings after market's close
* Tech shares weigh on Nasdaq, Intel at 2-1/2 month low
* Goldman Sachs sees S&P 500 rising to 1,750 at year-end
* Dow up 0.6 pct, S&P 500 up 0.5 pct, Nasdaq up 0.02 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, July 8 U.S. stocks rose on Monday just
before the start of earnings season, building on gains following
last week's robust employment report to push the S&P 500 closer
to its all-time high set in May.
Dell Inc shot up 2.9 percent to $13.41 after the
largest U.S. shareholder advisory firm recommended shareholders
vote for Chief Executive Michael Dell's $24.4 billion buyout
Eight of the 10 S&P 500 industry sector indexes rose,
led by gains in energy, utilities and consumer staples. Consol
Energy was among the S&P 500's best performers, up 4.6
percent at $27.73.
But technology shares waned and the Nasdaq Composite Index
fared worse than the other two major indexes. Intel Corp
was the S&P 500's worst performer, sliding 3.9 percent
to $23.11 after analysts at Evercore Partners downgraded the
company's stock. The drop took the stock down to its lowest
level since late April.
Still, the benchmark S&P 500 was less than 2 percent below
its May 21 all-time closing high of 1,669.16. In June, the
benchmark index fell as much as 5.8 percent below that record.
The recent gains have reassured investors, who worried that
a strong jobs report could trigger a negative reaction from the
market. Data on Friday showed the economy added a greater than
expected 195,000 new jobs last month.
Strong economic data increases the likelihood the Federal
Reserve will start to reduce its $85-billion-per-month in
monetary stimulus in the near future. The program has been a
major driver of the equity rally this year.
A Reuters poll of firms that deal directly with the Fed now
see the reduction beginning in September.
"The fear of the quantitative easing coming to an end, I
think that's dissipated a little bit, so people are now really
weighing that against the economic data," said Paul Brigandi,
senior vice president of trading at Direxion Funds in New York.
"For the moment, the better-than-expected jobs report is
outweighing the fear that the asset purchases could come to an
Interest rates have jumped sharply, with the yield on the
10-year U.S. Treasury note touching 2.7 percent. Higher rates
make borrowing more expensive and stocks less attractive in
terms of valuation.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 89.58 points,
or 0.59 percent, to 15,225.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 8.43 points, or 0.52 percent, to 1,640.32. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.61 point, or 0.02
percent, to 3,479.99.
Dow component Alcoa Inc, the largest U.S. aluminum
producer, unofficially begins the earnings season after the
market's close. The company is expected to report earnings of 6
cents per share on revenue of $5.83 billion. Alcoa shares rose
1.4 percent to $7.91.
Goldman Sachs analyst David Kostin said in a note sent
Sunday night to clients that rising earnings, coupled with
stable margins, should lift the S&P 500 by 8 percent to
Goldman's year-end target of 1,750. The index ended at 1,631.89
Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' earnings to rise 2.9
percent in the second quarter from a year ago, while quarterly
revenue is forecast to increase 1.5 percent from a year ago,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
In the biotech sector, Cytokinetics Inc shares fell
1 percent to $12.94 after the company disclosed a programming
error in a study of its treatment for amyotrophic lateral