Stocks gain...Alcoa beats expectations...SEC chairwoman confirmed

Monday - 4/8/2013, 6:40pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have closed higher on Wall Street as traders turn their focus to U.S. corporate earnings reports. Aluminum maker Alcoa reported earnings better than analysts were expecting. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 14,613 Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index increased nine points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,563. The Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,222.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alcoa Inc. kicked off earnings season Monday by reporting a larger first-quarter profit than analysts expected, helped by strong demand for aluminum used to make airplanes and automobiles. Alcoa said net income in the first quarter was $149 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with $94 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier. The company still sees demand for aluminum growing 7 percent in 2013, with gains cutting across many industries.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Senate has confirmed Mary Jo White's nomination as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, making her the first former prosecutor to lead the federal agency that oversees Wall Street. White was approved Monday by a Senate voice vote. She will replace Elisse Walter, who has been interim SEC chairman since Mary Schapiro resigned in December.

CHICAGO (AP) -- United Airlines is putting its Boeing 787 back in the flight schedule, even though the plane is still grounded by government authorities. United acknowledged on Monday that the plane is in its schedule starting May 31. Travel website noted a 787 flight from Houston to Denver that day.

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Plaintiffs' attorneys are asking a Nevada state court jury to find the state's largest health management organization liable for a stunning $2.5 billion punitive damage award in a Las Vegas hepatitis exposure case. Company lawyers argue that's neither "reasonable or proportionate." Last Thursday the jury awarded $24 million in compensatory damages to three plaintiffs.

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