Stocks close up after gloomy start

Trader Frederick Reimer wears a whale cap from Trader Frederick Reimer wears a whale cap from Sea World as he waits for the company's IPO to begin trading, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. The National Association of Realtors reports March sales of previously-owned homes on Monday. (April 19, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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Stocks edged higher yesterday as energy stocks got a lift from recovering oil prices.

The energy industry climbed 1 percent, making it the biggest gainer in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Oil rose 75 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $88.76 a barrel Monday. A week ago, crude fell below $90 a barrel for the first time this year after reports that China's economic growth slowed.

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The broader market managed only a modest advance as investors focused on the outlook for company profits at the start of a big week for earnings on Wall Street.

About a third of the companies in the S&P 500 index, including Exxon Mobil and Apple, will report earnings this week. While the reports have been good so far, expectations may need to be lowered if the global economy doesn't improve.

Of the companies that have reported earnings so far, 67 percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, exceeding the 10-year average of 62 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ. Analysts currently expect earnings to rise by 2 percent in the first quarter, down from the 7.7 percent increase in the fourth quarter.

The Dow rose 19.66 points to 14,567.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up 0.47 percent higher at 1,562.50. The Nasdaq rose .86 percent to close at 3,233.55. -- AP

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