9:00am (EST)

After a slow start, the bulls got a rare Monday win following a strong rally in the second half of trading.  The action was flat for much of the session with the bears sniffing near-term support and looking for a nasty start to the earnings season.  The Bank of Japan continued its assault on the Yen as they try to outdo Bennie and the Fed and perhaps this got the bulls motivated as they expect more goods words from Bernanke.

The Dow gained 48 points, or 0.3%, to close at 14,613.  The blue-chips traded down to 14,497 before recovering to clear 14,600 and going out at their high for the session.  This keeps 14,750 in play, and dare we say it – 15,000.

The S&P 500 added nearly 10 points, or 0.6%, to settle at 1,563.  The index dipped below the 1,550 level and kissed 1,548 before rebounding to clear 1,560.  Resistance is at 1,575 and is less than 1% away.  A close above this level gets 1,600 in play.  It was the S&P’s 14th-straight session of back-and-forth action so we can’t get too excited.

The Nasdaq jumped 18 points, or 0.6%, to end at 3,222.  Tech tangoed with the 3,200 level for much of the session and kissed 3,195 but was able to hold support once again.  The bulls came up short in clearing 3,225 but if they do we can pencil in another possible push to 3,250.

The Russell 2000 advanced 8 points, or 0.9%, to finish at 931.  The bears tried to crack 920 again at the open but could only touch 921 before the bulls reclaimed the 930 level.  The small-caps lead yesterday’s rally and a close above 940 would be bullish for a possible push to new highs again.

The S&P Volatility Index (^VIX, 13.19, down 0.73) dropped 5% and closed below 13.50.  With a Charlie Sheen smile, this was bullish.

Alcoa (AA, $8.39, up $0.15) surprised the suit-and-ties by beating estimates by 3 cents a share.  Shares were only up a penny in after-hours trading last night but at least Alcoa didn’t disappoint.

Futures are showing a higher open this morning and look like this:  Dow (+7); S&P 500 (+3); Nasdaq (+8).  Subscribers, check the Members Area for the updates.