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Stocks Climb Ahead of Earnings Season Kickoff

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It was a bumpy ride, but stocks managed to close higher on Wednesday, the day before the kickoff of third-quarter earnings season.

Markets moved erratically, in line with crude oil, which rallied before slumping on an increase in domestic inventories.

The S&P 500 was up 0.8%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.73%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.9%.

Alcoa (AA - Get Report) kicks off earnings season on Thursday by reporting results after the bell. Expectations for corporate earnings are already low.

Third-quarter earnings are expected to decline 4.2% from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters. Similar issues that plagued the second quarter such as a stronger U.S. dollar and lower energy prices are expected to carry over into this past quarter. International companies that derive a bulk of their sales overseas, for example, will likely take a hit on the currency exchange.

"We've seen companies set the bar rather low again for earnings season which has been typical," Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets, told TheStreet. "What we are looking for is to see what impact the stronger dollar has on U.S. companies. We are expecting and have seen some warnings from some of the multinationals that this...