Stocks close higher in 4th day of listless trading

Stocks are closing slightly higher after a fourth straight listless session. Traders were waiting for quarterly financial results from Alcoa Corp. that might offer clues about the economic recovery.

The aluminum company, which reported results after the close Monday, is considered an economic bellwether because so many industries use its products. Alcoa’s report marks the unofficial start of corporate earnings season. Traders will digest a trove of data about shifting global demand.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 33 points, or 0.3 percent at 12,393. The S&P 500 closed up 3, or 0.2 percent, at 1,281. The Nasdaq composite closed up 2, or 0.1 percent, at 2,677.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume remained light at 3.26 billion shares.