April 11, 2016 / 1:57 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St higher as earnings season begins

* Yahoo up as Daily Mail parent mulls bid

* National Oilwell Varco drops after cutting dividend

* Indexes up: Dow 0.51 pct, S&P 0.44 pct, Nasdaq 0.37 pct (Updates to open)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

April 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Monday as investors braced for corporate earnings season, with Alcoa set to post first-quarter results after the market closes.

Expectations for profit growth are low as companies struggle with a weak global economy, falling commodity prices and a stronger dollar.

Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have declined 7.6 percent on average in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Big bank earnings are also on the cards through the week, starting with JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday.

“We’re in a bit of a holding pattern until earnings, which kick off with Alcoa tonight, but more importantly the banks will start to report by mid-week,” said Aaron Clark, a portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management in Boston.

“That will be the next key event, which moves the market one way or the other,” he said.

At 9:36 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 90.12 points, or 0.51 percent, at 17,667.08, the S&P 500 was up 9.07 points, or 0.44 percent, at 2,056.67 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 17.76 points, or 0.37 percent, at 4,868.44.

All 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.87 percent rise in the materials sector. Alcoa’s shares were up 2.7 percent at $9.62.

Investors are also looking for clarity on monetary policy, with U.S. Federal Reserve appearing more cautious on rate hikes than the market had expected.

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Monday to discuss the economy and Wall Street reform.

Oil, which has been a big influence on the stock market this year, was slightly higher ahead of next Sunday’s meeting by producers aimed at freezing output.

Yahoo shares were up 1.2 percent at $36.50 after the parent company of Britain’s Daily Mail said it was in talks with potential partners to mount a bid for the company’s Internet assets.

Seagate rose 3.2 percent to $34.29 and Western Digital was up 2.7 percent at $44.27 after Cowen started coverage on the stocks with “market perform” ratings.

National Oilwell Varco dropped 4 percent to $28 after the oilfield equipment maker said it would cut its quarterly dividend.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,290 to 389. On the Nasdaq, 1,679 issues rose and 578 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 15 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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