NEW YORK, Jan. 10 -- U.S. stocks edged moderately higher on Monday as investors awaited the beginning of a new earnings season.
As of Monday's close, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 32.77 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,392.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 2.89 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,280.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 2.34 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,676.56.
Alcoa, Inc. will report fourth-quarter earnings after market close and officially kick off a new earnings season. Analysts expected that U.S. corporate earnings would be lower than estimated in the last quarter of 2011 due to the weakening global economy.
In Europe, German and French leaders met on Monday to discuss ways to tackle European debt crisis and stimulate eurozone economies. They called for EU states to complete their negotiations on a planned new treaty in the coming days so it could be signed on March 1.
On the economic front, consumer borrowing in the U.S. surged in November by the highest margin in 10 years, a sign that households were slightly optimistic to take on debt and banks were willing to lend more.
The Federal Reserve figures showed on Monday that credit increased by 20.4 billion dollars to 2.48 trillion dollars, the biggest jump since November 2001.
Meanwhile, Germany reported a 0.6 percent monthly decline in November industrial production after a 0.8 percent rise in October.
Investors now keep a close watch on the meeting of the European Central Bank this week.
As for oil, prices dipped on Monday as concerns over European economic recession offset supply fears.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery slipped 25 cents, or 0. 25 percent to settle at 101.31 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude for February delivery also declined and last traded over 112 dollars a barrel.
The U.S. dollar fell against major currencies in late New York trading on Monday as the euro rebounded when German and French leaders met to discuss economic issues, with the dollar index down 0.33 percent to 80.99.