Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 1, 2011. REUTERS

U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Monday as anticipation of solid first-quarter corporate earnings buoyed sentiment.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 2.02 points, or 0.15 percent, to trade at 1,330.54 at 9:45 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 29.22 points, or 0.24 percent, to trade at 12,409.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.21 percent.

The earnings season is set to kick off with U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa slated to report quarterly earnings after the market closes on Monday. Analysts are expecting a first quarter profit of $0.27 per share from $0.10 per share a year ago. Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) gained 0.73 percent to $18.05 in early trading.

Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC) shares gained 4.6 percent to $49.38 on news that Schneider Electric SA is weighing a takeover offer for Tyco International.

Meanwhile, exactly a month after the magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a massive tsunami, hit the eastern coast of Japan, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake again shook its northeastern region Monday afternoon. The fresh earthquake was felt in Tokyo and nuclear workers at the Fukushima plant were temporarily evacuated.

U.S. stocks ended lower on Friday, led by declines from airlines and other transportation companies as oil prices rallied to 30-month high.

The Japanese yen rebounded against the dollar and euro, after the earthquake. USD/JPY hit a three-day low of 84.58 and EUR/USD fell 0.34 percent to hit 1.4434.

Crude oil futures declined 0.53 percent to $112.19/barrel and gold futures fell 0.28 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 2.01 points and DAX30 down by 13.43 points, while CAC 40 down by 24.90 points.