US STOCKS-Wall St higher on earnings optimism, Alcoa gains

* Alcoa rises before start of earnings season

* Some profit gains may be priced into stocks

* NYSE Euronext snubs bid from Nasdaq/ICE

* 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 midday, changes byline)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday
as investors bet on a strong corporate earnings season, which
Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) unofficially launches after the market’s
close.

Profits for S&P 500 companies are seen rising 11.4 percent
from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, which has
generated optimism and contributed to the market’s recent gains
despite turmoil in oil-producing regions and disasters in
Japan.

The S&P 500 index is up 5.8 percent since the start of the
year, prompting some speculation that part of the anticipated
growth in profits has already been priced into shares. For
details, see [ID:nN07256466]

Alcoa rose 0.8 percent to $18.07. The aluminum maker is the
first Dow component to report and is seen posting growth in
both earnings and revenue. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and
Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) are on tap to report later in the week.

“The major companies reporting this week will give us a
nice slice of what to expect this season, and if we get
follow-through in the results, this could be the catalyst that
finally gets more people back in the market,” said Mike Shea,
managing partner and trader at Direct Access Partners LLC in
New York.

Shea expects trading volume, which has been among the
lowest of the year in recent weeks, to pick up following the
initial results. “That will mean more volatility, which will
pull both the long side and short side into the market,” he
said.

The CBOE Volatility index (.VIX: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 8.8 percent on
Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 54.00
points, or 0.44 percent, at 12,434.05. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 3.26 points, or 0.25 percent, at
1,331.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 1.58
points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,782.00.

NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Sunday rejected a joint buyout bid
from Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and IntercontinentalExchange
(ICE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and said it was sticking with an earlier bid from
Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research). Nasdaq reaffirmed that its offer
was superior to Deutsche Boerse’s lower offer. [ID:nN10204369]

NYSE shares fell 1.9 percent to $37.97 while Nasdaq OMX
fell 1 percent to $28.17 and ICE rose 0.7 percent to $121.36.

Also in deal news, Endo Pharmaceuticals Holding Inc
(ENDP.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said it would buy American Medical Systems Holdings
Inc (AMMD.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for about $2.6 billion while Level 3
Communications Inc (LVLT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) agreed to buy Global Crossing Ltd
(GLBC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for $1.9 billion in stock. [ID:nL3E7FB1PZ] and
[ID:nL3E7FB29F]

Endo rallied 5.1 percent to $42.99 while American Medical
jumped 32.1 percent to $29.50. Level 3 rose 9.7 percent to
$1.58 and Global Crossing surged 55 percent to $22.98.

Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.4 percent to $77.32 and was
the top percentage gainer on the Nasdaq 100 (.NDX: Quote, Profile, Research) after the
company’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug met the main
goal in the first of two important late-stage studies.
[ID:nN11283786]

Flextronics International (FLEX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) was the top percentage
loser on the Nasdaq 100, falling 3.2 percent, after rival
Benchmark Electronics Inc (BHE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) cut its first-quarter
outlook, citing soft demand. [ID:nL3E7FB1ZB]
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Wall St higher on earnings optimism, Alcoa gains