* Fed advances discussion on exit strategy -FOMC minutes
* Alcoa earnings top expectations; stock jumps
* Airline shares rally after American's revenue comment
* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P 500 up 0.4 pct; Nasdaq up 0.6 pct
(Updates with Fed minutes)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, July 9 U.S. stocks rose to session
highs on Wednesday after minutes from the last Federal Reserve
meeting showed the central bank has begun detailing how it will
end its easy monetary policy.
Major stock indexes dipped immediately after the release of
the minutes but quickly recovered.
The Fed indicated it will end its asset purchases in October
and appeared near agreement on a plan to manage interest rates
in the future, according to the minutes.
"The market, after digesting the Fed minutes, came to the
conclusion that the bond buying program ending in October is a
sign of economic strength," said Peter Cardillo, chief market
economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"So while it was a bit more hawkish, the conclusion is the
economy doesn't need any more crutches."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.95 points or
0.4 percent, to 16,974.57, the S&P 500 gained 7.78 points
or 0.4 percent, to 1,971.49 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 24.44 points or 0.56 percent, to 4,415.90.
Alcoa Inc was one of the S&P 500's biggest advancers,
up 5.9 percent to $15.72, a day after the U.S. aluminum
producer's adjusted second-quarter earnings and revenue topped
Wall Street's forecasts.
While the former Dow component is no longer considered a
market-moving industry bellwether, Alcoa is sometimes viewed as
setting the tone for the season because it is one of the first
high-profile names to report.
Wells Fargo & Co, the largest U.S. mortgage lender,
will report results on Friday. Dozens of closely-watched
companies, including Dow components, will release earnings
reports next week.
S&P 500 companies' profits are projected to grow 6.2 percent
in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down
from the forecast of 8.4 percent at the start of April. Revenue
is expected to rise 3 percent.
The expected growth is "not nothing, but it is nothing to
get too excited about," Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist
at LPL Financial in Boston, wrote in a note to clients.
"The growth rate supports our outlook for high single-digit
earnings growth in 2014 and further gains for U.S. stocks,"
Kleintop wrote. "But, despite the big show that is likely to be
made over the U.S. earnings season in the coming weeks, it is
not likely to be all that different from last quarter."
American Airlines Group shares climbed 4.1 percent
to $41.91 in heavy volume. The company narrowed its
second-quarter unit revenue growth forecast, raising the low end
and scaling back the high end.
Southwest Airlines Co was up 1.8 percent to $27.17.
Delta Air Lines Inc rose 1.6 percent to $37.04.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jan Paschal and Nick