US STOCKS-Earnings optimism lifts Wall Street, Alcoa up

* Alcoa rises before start of earnings season

* U.S. companies may be cautious in profit outlooks

* Strong quake in Japan adds to investor caution

* Stocks up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to early morning)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday
on hopes of strong corporate earnings as aluminum company Alcoa
(AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will be the first Dow component to release first-quarter
results.

Alcoa, which is due to report after the market’s close,
rose 1.4 percent to $18.17. The company is expected to report
earnings of 27 cents per share on revenue of $6.07 billion,
according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

The earnings season is off to a good start because of the
economy, but companies are likely to come out with conservative
outlooks, Jonathan Golub, strategist at UBS in New York, said.

“With the scars from the financial crisis still healing,
it’s no surprise that managements have been cautious in their
guidance,” he said.

Concerns about the impact of natural disasters and
geopolitical turmoil mean companies are more likely to play it
safe and highlight the uncertainty of supply chain disruptions
emanating from Japan and rising input costs, Golub said.

Market reaction was relatively calm after another strong
aftershock struck northeast Japan on Monday and the evacuation
zone around a crippled nuclear plant was expanded. For details,
see [ID:nL3E7FA058]

Shares of Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.4 percent to
$77.32 after the company’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug
met the main goal in the first of two important late-stage
studies. [ID:nN11283786]

Endo Pharmaceuticals Holding Inc (ENDP.O: Quote, Profile, Research) shares rose 8.6
percent to $44.38 after announcing plans to acquire American
Medical Systems Holdings Inc (AMMD.O: Quote, Profile, Research), a urological medical
devices supplier. [ID:nL3E7FB1PZ]

American Medical Systems shares jumped 32.1 percent to
$29.50.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 36.44
points, or 0.29 percent, at 12,416.49. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 3.23 points, or 0.24 percent, at
1,331.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 6.53
points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,786.95.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Earnings optimism lifts Wall Street, Alcoa up