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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:28 am

US stocks up in afternoon trading on earnings news

Stocks headed for a higher close late Wednesday afternoon as investors cheered strong company earnings from Intel and hospital operator HCA Holdings. Traders also welcomed the latest batch corporate deal news, bidding up shares in Time Warner nearly 18 percent following word that Twenty-First Century Fox made a takeover bid for the media giant.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,122 as of 3:24 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,981. The Nasdaq composite added 15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,432.

THE QUOTE: "We've seen some pretty good earnings reports across different sectors," said Dave Roda, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in the Southeast. "We're seeing a lot of (corporate deals), we're seeing a lot of share buyback announcements, things that really do help prop up markets."

MURDOCH BID: Time Warner soared 17.9 percent after Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox disclosed it made a bid for the media giant last month. Fox said Time Warner rejected its offer. The New York Times is reporting that that bid totaled $80 billion, or $85 in stock and cash for each Time Warner share. Time Warner added $12.69 to $83.70, while Twenty-First Century Fox fell $1.83, or 5.2 percent, to $33.36.

YANK THAT HANDLE: International Game Technology vaulted 9.7 percent on news the slot machine maker has agreed to be sold to Italian lottery operator Gtech for $4.7 billion in cash and stock. International Game Technology added $1.50 to $17.

WHEELIN' AND DEALIN': Cheap financing and a tough global economy have made acquisitions an attractive option for companies to expand their business. The value of U.S. corporate deals has surged 80 percent to $1.02 trillion so far this year from $563 billion in the same period a year ago, according to Dealogic.

"Companies are looking at 'how do we grow in this low-growth environment?' and they're turning to M&A," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at Nuveen Asset Management.

APPLE DEAL: Apple and IBM rose after the former rivals announced late Tuesday that they will work on mobile applications together in a bid to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers. Apple rose 59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $95.91. IBM added $3.69, or 2 percent, to $192.18.

INTEL SURGE: Intel rose $2.60, or 8.2 percent, to $34.3. The chipmaker reported late Tuesday that earnings jumped 40 percent in the latest quarter, beating expectations, as companies picked up the pace of office PC replacement.

ROSY OUTLOOK: HCA Holdings jumped 11.1 percent after the hospital operator said its second-quarter financial results will be better than expected. It also raised its full-year outlook. The stock rose $6.13 to $61.34.

BUILDING CONFIDENCE: The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose this month to the highest level since January. Builders said they were more optimistic about selling homes in the second half of the year. Homebuilders' growing confidence in the housing market comes as U.S. sales of new homes have picked up in recent months. The report sent shares of homebuilders mostly higher, led by M/I Homes. The stock rose 81 cents, or 3.5 percent, to 23.72.

BANK WOES: Bank of America fell 30 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $15.51 after reporting second quarter earnings that were hit by higher litigation expenses. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank earned 19 cents per share compared with 32 cents a year ago.

STILL STRUGGLING: Yahoo tumbled 4.8 percent after the Internet pioneer reported late Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings and revenue declined. The company's revenue forecast for the current quarter fell short of Wall Street's expectations. Yahoo's display advertising sales have slumped amid competition from Google and Facebook. The stock slid $1.72 to $33.89.

SECTOR WATCH: Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by energy stocks. Health care lagged the most.

BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.54 percent from 2.55 percent late Tuesday.


AP Business Writer Bernard Condon contributed to this story.