Stocks Post Modest Gains, Alcoa Profit Tops Forecasts

U. S. stocks ended a volatile session higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to an earnings season  expected to show modest growth despite concerns about macroeconomic conditions. The Dow Jones  Industrial Average added 48.23 points, or 0.33%, to 14,613.48. The S&P 500 index gained 9.79  points, or 0.63%, to 1,563.07. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 18.39 points, or 0.57%, to 3,222.25.

Aluminum maker Alcoa (AA) reported an increase in quarterly profit on Monday as performance in  its alumina and primary metals segments improved despite a tough market. Revenue, however, fell  short. Net income rose to $149 million, or 13 cents a share, in the first quarter from $94  million, or 9 cents, a year earlier. Revenue dropped 3 percent to $5.83 billion from $6.01  billion a year ago.

Hewlett-Packard Co. HPQ -0.18% said it would begin selling a new breed of low-power server
systems, remaking the way it designs hardware by offering customers a choice of different kinds
of chips to handle different computing workloads.

The Senate on Monday confirmed former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White as the new head of the  Securities and Exchange Commission.

Crude-oil futures settled higher Monday, marking their first gain in four sessions. Crude oil
for May delivery CLK3 +0.87% gained 66 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $93.36 a barrel on the New
York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had touched an intraday high of $93.75.

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