Wall Street Gains on Fresh Round of M&A Talk

The Dow Jones Industrial Average entered record territory again Wednesday, buoyed by better-than-expected earnings and corporate news.

Gains for Apple Inc., IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. were driving gains on the main benchmarks.

Investors will focus on testimony from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and several items on the economic calendar, including a home-builders' index and the Fed's Beige book.

The S&P 500 (SPX) opened 10 points, or 0.5%, higher at 1,983.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) jumped 71 points, or 0.4%, to 17,137.30, setting an intraday record. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) added 29 points, or 0.7%, to 4,445.90 at the open.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) reported earnings of 19 cents, which included 22 cents a share in litigation expenses. Revenue came in at $21.96 billion. The bank was expected to earn 27 cents a share on revenue of $21.65 billion. Banks have been surprising on the upside, with better-than-expected results from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Tuesday. Shares of Bank of America were lower.

Intel Corp.(INTC) jumped 5% after the technology maker reported market-pleasing results late Tuesday, while disappointment over Yahoo Inc.'s(YHOO) results left those shares down more than 3.5%.

Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) and IBM Corp. (IBM) rose 2% each, after the two technology companies said late Tuesday that they are teaming up to create business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue's corporate customers.

Time Warner Inc. (TWX) shares jumped 13% after CNBC reported that the media company has rejected an $80 billion buyout offer from 21st Century Fox (NWS).

Online-auction provider eBay Inc.(EBAY) reports after the close of markets on Wednesday.

The producer price index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in June after a 0.2% decline in May, the Labor Department said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.3% increase in the PPI. Industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in June to take the second-quarter rise to an annual rate of 5.5%, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Still to come is a home-builders' index, to be released at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen enters her second day of testimony to Congress on the economy. That kicks off at around 10 a.m. Eastern Time. On Tuesday, Yellen said interest rates could rise sooner rather than later if employment gains continue.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, who is a voting member of the Fed's policy committee this year, will give a speech on monetary policy at University of Southern California at noon Eastern Time. Also, the Fed will release its Beige Book report on economic conditions at 2 p.m. Eastern.

No matter how volatile the session, the winning streak appears unrelenting for stocks, said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade, in emailed comments. "Traders are determined to push the markets higher to get another record high in the U.S., and ... similar momentum is set to continue today," he said.

Across other markets, Asian stocks closed mixed, but with most major indexes sticking to slim moves. China's economic growth rate hit 7.5% in the April-June quarter, data showed Wednesday. That beat expectations, and triggered discussion about whether the government will offer up more stimulus.

European stocks got a boost from that Chinese data, which lifted resource stocks. It also lifted oil prices, with crude for August delivery (CLQ4) trading at $100.77 a barrel. Gold for August delivery (GCQ4) was mostly flat, and the dollar (DXY) pushed higher on interest-rate-timing comments by Yellen.