NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks climbed modestly on Wednesday after a two-day drop as Alcoa Inc. raised its outlook, citing expectations of increased global demand for aluminum.
"We started earnings season, but it's like a preview before a movie -- this is coming attractions week," said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.
Wednesday's gains had the three major indices up for a third session in six so far this year, with the S&P 500 hitting a five-year high on Friday after the December jobs report had hiring maintaining its two-year pace, indicating the par
tially resolved budget battle on Capitol Hill had not done significant damage to the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 61.66 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,390.51.
Alcoa late Tuesday reported better-than-estimated revenue and an upbeat forecast for the year.
"Alcoa is better, and it is usually not, so it could be a barometer for the global economy or it could be a company that has done a good job of repairing its balance sheet, or it could be a combination of both.
The good news is we haven't had a household name blow up yet," Hogan said.
Boeing Co. was the top gainer in the Dow, with shares of the aerospace firm rallying 3.6 percent, rebounding from their decline earlier in the week.
Bank of America Corp. was the top decliner in the Dow, dropping 4.6 percent after the lender was downgraded to neutral from outperform by Credit Suisse for valuations reasons.
The S&P 500 index gained 3.87 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,461.02.
The Nasdaq composite index added 14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,105.81.
American International Group Inc. on Wednesday said it would not join a lawsuit against the government over terms of the insurer's 2008 rescue. Its shares ended up 0.3 percent.
MasterCard Inc. climbed 2.8 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the payments network.
Seagate Technology PLC gained 6.6 percent after the company projected fiscal second-quarter sales above prior forecasts.
Clearwire Corp. rallied 7.2 percent after the wireless-network operator drew an unsolicited offer from Dish Network Corp. that exceeded a buyout offer from Sprint Nextel Corp., which already owns a majority of Clearwire.
Apollo Group Inc. slipped 7.8 percent after the for-profit educator reported declining enrollment for the third quarter and reduced its operating profit outlook for the year.