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Dow rises more than 150 points as tech shares jump ahead of Alphabet earnings

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Cashin: Earnings still look pretty good, but people are beginning to worry

Stocks rose on Monday, led by tech shares, as investors awaited key corporate earnings from companies like Alphabet.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 175.48 points higher at 25,239.37 as Microsoft and Apple outperformed. The gained 0.7 percent to close at 2,724.87 as the tech sector gained 1.6 percent. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.15 percent to 7,347.54, outperforming relative to the other major indexes. 

Shares of Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all closed at least 2 percent higher. The Technology Select Sector SPDR fund (XLK) rose 1.6 percent.

But Alphabet shares fell 2 percent after hours following the company's release of quarterly earnings. Gilead also dipped 2.3 percent on earnings.Disney, General Motors, Viacom and Kellogg are all slated to release their results later this week.

Shares of Clorox rose 5.6 percent after the company posted a better-than-expected profit. Clorox also reiterated its guidance for 2019 earnings and revenue. Sysco and Alexion Pharmaceuticals also reported stronger-than-forecast earnings. Sysco shares rose 4.8 percent. Alexion gained as much as 2.1 percent before closing 2 percent lower.

So far, more than 47 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results. Of those companies, 68.5 percent have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

"When I think about this earnings season, it's more average and OK than what we've seen over the past three quarters," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "This quarter is more of what you typically see in an average quarter."

Earnings grew by more than 20 percent in the first three quarters of 2018. So far, fourth-quarter earnings are up by 12.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Monday's moves come after the Dow and Nasdaq posted their sixth straight weekly gains last week. The S&P 500 also notched its fifth one-week gain in six. Stocks completed last week their best monthly gain since October 2015, with the S&P 500 notching its largest one-month rise since 1987.

"It was a huge rebound in performance from oversold conditions in December, largely driven by the fact that the worst fears earnings didn't come true, a very patient Fed and 100 months of consecutive jobs growth," said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

Analysts heavily revised down their estimates for fourth-quarter earnings after a late-December sell-off. The sharp move down briefly pushed the S&P 500 into bear-market territory on an intraday basis.

Investors were also worried about the Federal Reserve's path towards normalizing monetary policy. They feared the central bank was tightening policy too quickly. Those fears were assuaged last week after the Fed emphasized it will be patient with future rate hikes. Meanwhile, the January jobs report released Friday easily topped analyst expectations.

—CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed to this report.