Stocks Rise Four Sessions in Row - TheStreet

Updated from 4:04 p.m. EDT

Stocks rose for a fourth straight day Monday as good news from

PeopleSoft

(PSFT)

and

Motorola

(MOT)

gave the market a boost in a very quiet session.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended up 22 points to 9595, while the

Nasdaq

was up 13 points to 1893. The

S&P 500

gained 4 points to 1034

"Trading is quiet, curtailed by the Yom Kippur holiday, but eager anticipation for earnings season has the rank and file looking at the glass as half-full," said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at Prudential Securities.

Volume on the Big Board reached just over 1 billion shares and advances beat declines by 2 to 1. On the Nasdaq, 1.4 billion shares changed hands with winners beating losers by 3 to 2.

The reporting season kicks off in earnest Tuesday, with the release of

Alcoa's

(AA) - Get Report

results.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

is expected to report earnings Wednesday followed by

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

on Friday.

"As long as the earnings season provides little in the way of 'negative' surprises and the economy muddles along, the rally can continue," said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates.

Giri Cherukuri, head trader at Oak Brook Investments, said stocks saw "a bit of follow-through" from Friday, when stocks rose sharply following a better-than-expected jobs report.

Still, some analysts said the reaction to Friday's employment number was overdone, given that the labor market has a long way to go before it can be considered healthy. "The equity market celebration and bond market selloff seemed excessive," said Donald Straszheim, president of Straszheim Global Advisors. "There was as much weak as strong in the September jobs report."

Shares of Motorola put a floor under the market after it disclosed plans to separate its semiconductor operation as a free-standing public company. The move has long been urged by analysts and comes on the eve of the departure of CEO Chris Galvin, although the company said in a press release that the action was Galvin's idea. Motorola said it will probably achieve the separation through an initial public offering of stock and a subsequent spinoff to existing shareholders. Shares were up 10%, or $1.22, at $13.50.

PeopleSoft was also higher after saying third-quarter earnings, revenue and license revenue will all top the guidance it issued Sept. 4, when it predicted earnings of 10 cents to 11 cents a share on overall revenue of $575 million to $595 million. The company, which is battling a hostile takeover from

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

, cited the successful integration of recently acquired J.D. Edwards. PeopleSoft's shares were up 3%, or 58 cents, to $20.43.

On the Dow,

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

was a big gainer after Morgan Stanley raised its 2003 and 2004 earnings estimates on the company, and

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

was up after the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a ruling that awarded almost $80 million in punitive damages to the family of a dead smoker. Caterpillar was up 1% to $74.01 and Altria was up 0.7% to $45.03.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was up 0.4% to $47.31 after a report in the

Financial Times

said the company was looking into potential takeover targets among German banks.

Rambus

(RMBS) - Get Report

rose 39% to $25.80, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected

Infineon Technologies'

(IFX)

appeal of a fraud case against the memory-chip maker, clearing the way for Rambus to collect royalties from certain computer-chip firms.

Package deliverer

UPS

(UPS) - Get Report

was up 0.2% to $65.10 after a report in

The Wall Street Journal

about shorter ground-shipping schedules for the company in a bid to pressure the competition.

Market maker

Knight Trading

(NITE)

increased its outlook for third-quarter profit on better trading volumes in equities markets. Knight was up 16%, or $1.94, to $13.95.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

rose 1.9% to $56.74 after Smith Barney raised its third-quarter earnings estimates on the stock.

In other research news, Merrill upgraded European software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

to buy from neutral, citing a large installed base that will enable it to benefit from an expected improvement in IT spending. SAP shares were up 3%, or $1.01, to $33.91.

UBS said strong DSL, wireless, and network equipment spending should help third quarter earnings and it recommended shares of

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

and

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

.

Oil companies were back in focus after Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that the country's biggest oil producer, Yukos, was in talks to sell a stake to oil giant

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

.

European markets were lower Monday, with London's FTSE 100 flat at 4270, and Germany's Xetra DAX down 0.4% to 3404. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.3% higher at 10,740, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.1% to 11,734.

Treasuries were higher, with the 10-year up 9/32 to yield at 4.16%. Crude oil futures fell in New York, and the dollar was weaker against the euro and flat vs. the yen.

On Friday the Dow closed up 85 points, or 0.9%, at 9572, while the S&P 500 finished up 10 points, or 1%, at 1030. The Nasdaq climbed 44 points, or 2.4%, to 1881.