Alcoa Beat Lifts Stocks; Nasdaq Logs Best Close Since 2000


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Upbeat earnings from Alcoa sent stocks climbing Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq notched its highest close in nearly 13 years.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 75.7 points, or 0.5%, to 15300, the S&P 500 gained 11.9 points, or 0.72%, to 1652 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 19.4 points, or 0.56%, to 3504.

All but one major sector ended in the green on the day. The biggest gainers could be found in materials, industrials and energy stocks -- all industries seen to be particularly vulnerable to sways in the economy. The telecommunications sector was the single laggard.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) revealed quarterly results after the closing bell that beat analysts' expectations on the top and bottom lines. While analysts warn the embattled company no longer represents a true bellwether, it still helped get corporate reporting season off to a strong start. Larger firms J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) are both slated to unveil their earnings on Friday.

On the economic front, the International Monetary Fund chopped down its 2013 and 2014 world growth forecast to by 0.2 percentage point to 3.1% and 3.8%, respectively. The IMF pointed to cooling in emerging markets and the years-long recession in Europe as drivers.

Traders had a smattering of other corporate news to parse through as well. NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) will become the administrator of controversial London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), previously run by the British Bankers Association, according to multiple news report.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) said its chief executive William Lynch will resign amid a management shakeup. Kroger (NYSE:KR) said it will buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets (NASDAQ:HTSI) in a $2.44 billion deal. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgraded IBM (NYSE:IBM) to "neutral" from "buy" and cut its price target on Big Blue by $20 to $200 a share.

Gold prices rallied for the second day in a row. The precious metal jumped $13.30, or 1.1%, to $1,248 a troy ounce. Oil dipped 7 cents, or 0.07%, to $103.07 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline edged up 0.11% to $2.887 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.55% to 2665, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.85% to 6505 and the German DAX rallied 1% to 8045.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 2.6% to 14472 and the Chinese Hang Seng ticked up 0.49% to 20683.

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