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Stocks rise on earnings, data, M&A

David Russell (david.russell@optionmonster.com)

Stocks are continuing higher today, bolstered by strong earnings and Chinese economic news.

S&P 500 futures are up 0.3 percent, while European markets are higher by 1 percent to 2 percent. India's Sensex led the advance in Asia overnight with a 1.3 percent gain. China was little-changed despite reporting better-than-expected economic growth and industrial production.

Earnings and mergers continue to be major trading catalysts. Chip giant Intel is indicated higher by almost 5 percent and is back to its highest level in a decade after a rebound in PC spending fueled strong quarterly results. There's also a report today that Time Warner rejected an $80 billion takeover offer by Twenty-First Century Fox, which is lifting TWX by 15 percent.

The S&P 500 has been consolidating for the last two weeks after closing at an all-time high of 1985 on July 3. Transportation stocks have come back to life during that time, emerging once again as the leading index and breaking out to new lifetime highs in the last two sessions. The Nasdaq has followed closely, while small-caps have lagged.

Today features a broad range of potential catalysts. Industrial production and capacity utilization will be released at 9:15 a.m. ET. NAHB's housing-market index and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's second appearance on Capitol Hill this week follow at 10 a.m. ET. Crude-oil inventories come out at 10:30 a.m. ET, and the Fed releases its Beige Book of economic conditions at 2 p.m. The afternoon features earnings from noteworthy companies such as eBay, SanDisk, and Yum Brands.

In other company news, Yahoo fell 3 percent and Bank of America declined almost 1 percent after their results missed estimates. International Game Technology rose 10 percent after accepting a long-awaited takeover by Italy's GTECH. Better-than-expected earnings also boosted Textron by 2 percent.

Oil is rebounding on the strong Chinese news, with West Texas Intermediate up 0.8 percent and European Brent climbing 0.4 percent. Silver is down 0.7 percent and  copper is off 0.2 percent, but gold is inching higher. Currencies are mixed as the euro declines and the Japanese yen is little-changed.

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