Stocks wobbled to a mixed close yesterday as a government report showed an improved supply outlook for oil, and the first day of earnings...

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NEW YORK — Stocks wobbled to a mixed close yesterday as a government report showed an improved supply outlook for oil, and the first day of earnings season forced investors to shift their focus to company news.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27.56 to 10,486.02.

Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, gained 20 cents to close at $24.67 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, added 10 cents to $58.43.

The broader gauges were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 2.68 to 1,184.07. The Nasdaq composite index declined 0.18 to 1,999.14.

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Investors were in the early stages of trying to assess what the upcoming profit results might reveal about the economy’s momentum. Wall Street will probably pay particular attention to the reports from industrials and financial companies as it eyes the impact that rising interest rates have had over the course of 2005’s first quarter.

During this period, it’s likely “the market is not going to move dramatically one way or the other,” said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Financial Services Group in Philadelphia, noting that stocks tend to do better in the actual reporting season than during pre-announcements.

“It’s been a show-me-the-money kind of market, very reactive, waiting to see the results,” Kleintop said. “Usually it’s buy on the rumor, sell on the news, but lately the market’s been saying ‘I’ll buy on the news, thank you very much!’ ”

While the quality of corporate profits is likely to emerge as the main driver in the weeks ahead, Wall Street is also watching oil prices. A decline in crude coupled with a firmer dollar could help stocks break out of the low end of their current trading range, said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist with CIBC World Markets.

“There are two kinds of risks right now. One is oil prices going ever higher, the second is the U.S. dollar going ever lower,” Kumar said. “So you have to look at both of these things. A firmer dollar is better for capital market risk, and oil prices pulling back may reduce some fears about earnings and consumer spending.”