* World shares rise as Alcoa points to rising global demand
* Dollar gains versus yen on expectations of BOJ easing
* Brent crude stays below $112 per barrel
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK Jan 9 Global equities rose modestly on
Wednesday after aluminum maker Alcoa opened the U.S.
earnings season with a brighter outlook for global demand,
though the results did not give a clear direction of how well
corporations did during the fourth quarter.
The dollar rose against the yen on expectations of more
easing from the Bank of Japan this month, but investors were
wary before policy meetings of the European and British central
banks on Thursday, when Spain also tests the market's appetite
for debt from peripheral euro zone economies.
Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in the United
States, said late on Tuesday it is cautiously optimistic about
demand for the metal in 2013, buoyed by aerospace and
Investors have been concerned that the recent impasse over
the U.S. "fiscal cliff" and signs of slowing economic growth
would weigh on earnings this season, resulting in only anemic
growth. Alcoa, as the first Dow component to report, is seen as
starting the season with a positive tone.
"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 ended up 61.66
points, or 0.46 percent, at 13,390.51. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 3.87 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,461.02.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14.00 points, or 0.45
percent, at 3,105.81.
Alcoa's results also buoyed Asian stocks and pushed Europe's
FTSE Eurofirst 300 index up 0.7 percent to a 22-month
Worries over Washington budget battles remain a constraint.
A similar fight over the U.S. debt ceiling in 2011 caused the
country to lose its sterling AAA credit rating, rattling world
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was
unchanged, the yield at 1.8639 percent.
Investors were pushing to retake some of last week's sharp
losses after Federal Reserve minutes hinted at growing unease
within the bank about its asset-purchasing program.
German government bond prices also gained following a
successful auction of new five-year debt, continuing a string of
strong European sales this week with Austria, the Netherlands
and Ireland all tapping the market.
But a test looms on Thursday when Spain and Italy hold their
first debt sales of 2013. The Spanish auction could also offer
clues on the timing of a much-anticipated request by the
government for international financial aid.
Surging demand for high-grade corporate debt in the United
States has put the new issue market on course for a record week.
Thomson Reuters IFR said new issue volume totaled a massive $33
billion by the end of Tuesday, and only $7.6 billion more was
needed to match the previous weekly record of $40.6 billion.
The dollar rallied against the yen, moving toward a 2-1/2
year high hit last week on expectations of bolder monetary
easing from the Bank of Japan at its next meeting later this
The U.S. currency was up 0.9 percent at 87.77 yen,
gaining 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies.
"The outlook for additional easing is keeping a lid on the
yen to the upside," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at
Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
Sources familiar with BOJ thinking told Reuters the central
bank was likely to adopt a 2 percent inflation target at the
meeting, double its current goal, and issue a statement, with
the government promising to pursue bold monetary easing steps.
The euro was slightly lower at $1.305, easing after
German industrial output rose less than expected in November.
The data was unlikely to change the ECB's thinking, with
most analysts expecting interest rates to be kept on hold on
Thursday, though some believe rates will be cut later this year.
Brent crude oil fell 0.2 percent to $111.69 per
barrel on increasing supply from the United States. U.S. light
crude was flat at $93.17.
U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles were expected to have
risen last week as refiners on the Gulf Coast resumed imports
after slowing shipments at the end of the year for tax purposes,
according to a Reuters poll.