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Stocks Monday finished with handsome gains on broad strength in the Dow index and growing hopes that the first-quarter earnings season will meet forecasts.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 75.53 points, or 0.70%, to 10,515.56. The broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 5.90 points, or 0.52%, to 1,145.22. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 12.60 points, or 0.61%, to 2,065.48.
Though trading Monday was relatively quiet following the Easter holiday, the rest of the week brings earnings from some 70 companies on the S&P 500.
Corporate operating profits should rise 17% year over year, helped by stronger global demand and slightly better pricing power, reports economic research firm Informa Global Markets.
Many components of the Dow index contributed to the market's gains. Among them, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT
) held to its April sales expectations of a same-store sales increase of 4% to 6%, following strong Easter clothing and decorations sales. The stock was trading higher.
Shares of DuPont (DD
), the No. 2 U.S. chemicals maker and a Dow component, were higher after the company said it will cut 3,500 jobs, or 6% of its work force, in a plan to lower costs by $900 million amid rising raw material prices.
Shares in Intel (INTC
) were up slightly ahead of its next earnings report due Tuesday.
Another Dow member, McDonald's (MCD
) gained ground ahead of its earnings update, set for later in the week.
Losses in Disney (DIS
) kept Dow gains in check. Banc of America analyst Douglas Shapiro said Comcast (CMCSA
) may abandon its bid for the media giant.
) says it will pay InterTrust Technologies $440 million to settle a lawsuit over anti-piracy technology for digital music and movies. The deal lifts a legal uncertainty that hung over the software giant's media strategy.
Shares in Exxon Mobil (XOM
) advanced amid rising crude oil prices.
On Tuesday, investors will digest earnings from Novellus Systems (NVLS
), which makes machines that make computer chips. The company reported Monday after the close a higher first-quarter profit on improved demand for its products.
Also on the earnings schedule are Commerce Bancorp (CBH
), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ
), Intel and Linear Technology (LLTC
In economic news, retail sales and business inventories are on the agenda Tuesday.
Treasuries finished lower in price after comments by the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Robert Parry that benchmark rates could rise 3.5% if inflation averages 1% to 2%. He said he expects inflation to be at about 1% to 1.5%.
On Wednesday, investors will get updates on the consumer price index and trade balance are due. Friday brings housing starts, industrial production, capacity use and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
European markets were closed on Monday for the Easter Monday holiday.
On Friday, London's FTSE 100 index added 21 points, or 0.47%, to 4,489.70. Germany's DAX index gained 12.37 points, or 0.31%, to 4,013.53. France's CAC 40 index rose 5.55 points, or 0.15%, to 3,740.11.
In Asia, markets finished Monday's session mixed. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index added 145.19 points, or 1.22%, to 12,042.70 on strength in bank and high-tech shares. "Market watchers say stocks rose on the back of rising optimism for a steady recovery in the economy and anticipation of the imminent release of Japanese hostages in Iraq," reports S&P's MarketScope.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was closed for the Easter holiday.