US STOCKS-Wall St modestly higher as Alcoa beats revenue estimates

* Alcoa shares rise after positive outlook for the year

* Fourth-quarter earnings, revenues expected to grow 1.9


* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct

NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on

Wednesday after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with

better-than-expected revenue and an encouraging outlook for the


The market's rise came after two-days of declines, with few

catalysts to give direction and investors fretting about the

start of earnings season after the prior quarter's lackluster


Alcoa Inc said late on Tuesday it expects global

demand for aluminum to grow in 2013, though the company

expressed concern about the impact on business from a

confrontation in Washington over the U.S. budget. Shares of

Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, were trading flat in

early afternoon at around $9.12, after earlier trading


Overall, corporate profits were expected to beat the

previous quarter's meager 0.1 percent rise. Both earnings and

revenues in the fourth quarter were expected to grow by 1.9

percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

But the lowered expectations leave room for companies to

surprise investors even if their results are not particularly

strong, analysts said.

The current quarter was shaping up like the previous one,

with companies lowering expectations in recent weeks, said James

Dailey, portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"So the big question and focus is on revenue, and Alcoa had

better-than-expected revenue," calming the market a little,

Dailey said.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 56.44 points,

or 0.42 percent, at 13,385.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index

was up 3.31 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,460.46. The

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.50 points, or 0.37

percent, at 3,103.31.

Shares of Herbalife Ltd rose 3.5 percent to $39.70,

following news that hedge fund manager Dan Loeb has taken a

stake of more than 8 percent in the nutritional supplements

seller, according to a regulatory filing. Herbalife has come

under fire from prominent short-seller Bill Ackman, who has

accused the company of being a "pyramid scheme," a charge it

vehemently denies.

Facebook Inc shares rose above $30 per share for the

first time since July, 2012. The social network sent out a media

invitation on Tuesday saying, "Come and see what we're

building." Facebook, which has been tight-lipped about its plans

after its botched IPO in May, invited the media to its Menlo

Park, California, campus on Jan. 15.

Among other companies reporting earnings, Constellation

Brands, whose labels include Robert Mondavi and

Ravenswood wines, reported higher profit and raised its

forecast. The stock was down 0.8 percent at $35.74.

Apollo Group Inc slid more than 11 percent after it

reported lower student sign-ups for the third straight quarter

and cut its operating profit outlook for 2013. Apollo's shares

were last at $18.63.

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