Wall Street up on earnings bets, M&A hopes

Wall Street up on earnings bets, M&A hopes

The S&P 500 rose near a seven-week high on Wednesday as investors bet the upcoming earnings season and more merger activity will continue to lift equities.

The S&P 500 inched closer to 1,344, which would be the highest since June 2008 and has been a resistance level where continued buying could lead to a technical breakout.

The Dow industrials hit its highest intraday since 2008.

Miner shares rose as gold prices rallied to a record high against a backdrop of a weaker U.S. dollar and investor worries over inflation and unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. Silver touched a fresh 31-year peak.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold gained 2.6 percent to $58.06. Gold for June delivery rallied to a record high at $1,463.30 an ounce.

“There’s optimism earnings will be good for the first quarter,” said Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

“Semiconductors are up on expectation of more M&A activity in the tech sector,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 33.57 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,427.47. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 4.71 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,337.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 19.72 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,810.91.

Broadcom Corp (BRCM – News) shares gained 4 percent to $40 after Oppenheimer raised its rating on the chipmaker and set a price target of $55.

Purchases of major items sent German industrial orders soaring above expectations in February, data showed on Wednesday, in a further sign Europe’s largest economy was outshining its neighbors. Orders grew by 2.4 percent in the month, compared to the Reuters forecast for an increase of 0.6 percent.

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