US STOCKS-Wall St rises as Alcoa gives lift to earnings season

* Alcoa shares rise after positive outlook for the year

* Clearwire rises after DISH offer, Sprint falls

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct

NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday

after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with

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

year.

Alcoa Inc said it expects global demand for aluminum

will continue to grow in 2013, though the company kept a

cautious tone as worries lingered over a looming U.S. budget

confrontation. Shares of Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in

the United States, rose 0.5 percent to $9.18.

Still, investors are wary about the outcome of the

fourth-quarter earnings season. Profits were expected to beat

the previous quarter's lackluster results, but analyst estimates

were down sharply from where they were in October. Earnings were

expected to grow by 2.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters

data.

But the lowered expectations leave room for companies to

surprise investors even if their results aren't particularly

strong, analysts said.

"Clearly no one is expecting a stellar earnings season.

With the number of companies that lowered guidance over the last

few weeks, I think there's some concern that we could see

companies disappoint," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at

Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"However, based on the fact that many companies have

lowered guidance, that means they've put the bar so low they

could crawl over it, and I would expect what we'll see is some

relief as earnings come in."

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.00 points,

or 0.50 percent, to 13,395.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index

rose 5.50 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,462.65. The

Nasdaq Composite Index added 10.07 points, or 0.33

percent, to 3,101.88.

Among other earnings, Constellation Brands, whose

labels include Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wines, rose 0.4

percent to $36.30 after it reported higher profit and raised its

earnings forecast.

Apollo Group Inc slid about 10 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 $18.83.

Dish Network Corp late Tuesday announced a bid for

Clearwire Corp that trumped Sprint Nextel Corp's

$2.2 billion offer, setting the stage for a battle over the

wireless service provider.

Clearwire was up 7.5 percent at $3.14, while Sprint lost 2

percent to $5.85.

Hard drive maker Seagate Technology rose 4.6 percent

to $32.83 after it raised its second-quarter revenue forecast.

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