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Dow Up Over 100 Points, Led by CAT

Stocks rallied Monday, after a wobbly start, as techs dragged but investors were optimistic about the slew of earnings ahead.

The Dow jumped more than 100 points, topping 10,100. the run was led by Caterpillar and American Express , both of which report earnings later this week.

RBC Capital initiated coverage of Caterpillar and six other equipment makes with an "outperform" rating, saying they are among the best-positioned to benefit from global growth.

Fast fact: On this day 22 year ago was the infamous crash of 1987. If the Dow were to fall a similar percentage as it did that day, we'd be looking at a 2200 point drop.

Oil hit a new high for the year above $79 a barrel, then pulled back slightly.

The big buzz of the market was that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has offered to underwrite a $6 billion loan to commercial lender CIT Group . In a letter to CIT's board, Icahn complained that negotiations between the company and its largest creditors have become too expensive and damaging to other bondholders.

Amgen was one of the biggest percentage decliners on the Nasdaq after the drug maker said regulators have delayed approval of its new osteoporosis medication, denosumab.

General Electric shares wobbled as the fate of its NBC Universal unit hung in the balance. The conglomerate and Vivendi are still $500 million aparton what Vivendi should be paid for NBC Universal, the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend. NBC Universal is the parent company of CNBC.

In the morning's earnings news,

Hasbro

beat on earnings, helped by demand for movie-related toys, but missed on revenue

Regional bank BB&T reported that third-quarter profit decreased by 56 percent, but said early indicators of problem loans were largely stable compared with the second quarter.

Shares of Eaton jumped 6 percent after the diversified manufacturer reported a sharp drop in profit but beat expectations and said it's seeing early signs of recovery in its markets.

Google and Motorola surged after an offensive line drive of ads for their Droid phone during Sunday football. Verizon Wireless will begin selling the phone Oct. 30.

The phone has gotten some rave reviews about its speed, among other things, and one analyst said "Android adoption is about to explode." But analysts said Apple has already sold so many phones, it won't be easy to pry market share away from the iPhone titan.

After the bell today, Apple reports earnings. Analysts expect the iPod maker to "handily beat" expectations amid strong margins. Apple shares had opened lower but rebounded by midday.

We'll also get reports from Boston Scientific ; Texas Instruments .

This will be a crucial week for earnings — and the market. Strong results from companies including Alcoa and JPMorgan gave investors cause for optimism this quarter, but if Apple, Caterpillar or some of the other big names reporting this week miss, it could turn the tide.

"As we get further through the earnings season, you're seeing whisper numbers rise," Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Advisors, told Reuters. "So, if companies don't blow out earnings, their stocks are going to see a selloff."

That's exactly what happened to Goldman Sachs last week: After JPMorgan's stellar report, the whisper numbers crept higher. Then, when Goldman delivered a solid, but not blockbuster, report, the stock — and other financials — sold off.

So far, 79 percent of companies that have reported earnings have beat analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.

At least a dozen banks report this week, including Morgan Stanley , Wells Fargo and Regions Financial .

In a speech today, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that moves by Asian nations to promote exports could skew trade balances. He urged the U.S. to work on cutting its record budget deficitand encouraged China to get its citizens to spend more.

Still to come: The National Association of Home Builders is out with its monthly sentiment index at 1 pm. Economists are looking for a slight increase to a reading of 20 for October, versus 19 in September.

— Reuters contributed to this article.

This Week:

MONDAY: Housing-market index; Earnings from Hasbro, Apple, Texas Instruments and Boston Scientific
TUESDAY: Housing starts; producer prices; Madoff sons hearing; report on college pricing; Fed's Plosser speaks; Earnings from Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Pfizer, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Regions Financial, SanDisk, Seagate, Yahoo
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps; weekly crude inventories; Fed's beige book; Fed's Rosengren speaks; Earnings from Boeing, Eli Lilly, Wells Fargo, Altria, AMR, Continental, Morgan Stanley, USBancorp and eBay
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims; leading indicators; Fed's Rosengren, Lockhart and Dudley speak; Earnings from AT&T, Bristol-Myers, McDonald's, Merck, MMM, Travelers, UPS, Schering-Plough, Xerox, Amazon, AmEx, Braodcom and Capital One
FRIDAY: Fed chief Bernanke speaks; existing-home sales; Fed's Kohn speaks; Earnings from Microsoft, Honeywell and Ingersoll-Rand

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.