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Stocks edge higher ahead of earnings season

NEW YORK – Stocks closed higher on Wall Street as traders turn their focus to U.S. corporate earnings reports.

Aluminum maker Alcoa became the first company in the Dow Jones industrial average to report first-quarter results. The earnings, which came in shortly after the closing bell, were better than analysts were expecting.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 14,613 Monday.

Other indexes posted slightly bigger gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index increased nine points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,563.

The Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,222.

Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light at 2.8 billion shares.

Aluminum producer Aloca said Monday that net income in the first quarter was $149 million.

That’s down from $242 million a year earlier, but excluding special items, the profit is 11 cents per share, beating analysts’ forecast of 8 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Alcoa shares rose 21 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $8.45 in after-hours trading.

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