Strong earnings and positive signs coming from the world's two largest economies pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a new record high Wednesday.
The Fed's beige book showed consumer spending up in all of its districts, and second quarter growth in China rose more than expected. On top of that, the day's corporate earnings were largely strong triggering a surge of buying on Wall Street.
The Dow (^DJI) gained 77 points to close at a new high of 17,138 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 9 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was up by 8 points.
Earnings drove Intel's (INTC) stock sharply higher. Shares gained more than 9 percent after it beat expectations, raised its guidance, announced more buybacks, and said the worst was over for the battered PC market. Fellow chipmaker AMD (AMD) rose 3 percent.
Hospital operator HCA Holdings (HCA) rallied hard on the back of its earnings report. Its shares gained 10.5 percent after raising its guidance. Tenet Healthcare (THC) also had a great day, rising 8.5 percent. And railroad giant CSX (CSX) gained slightly on stronger revenue.
Bank of America's (BAC) earnings fell largely because of legal costs, and the stock dropped with it down 2 percent. PNC Financial's (PNC) earnings also fell and shareholders offloaded the stock down 3.5 percent.
Yahoo (YHOO) came out with its earnings after the bell Tuesday, and so far, investors aren't feeling it. The stock fell 5 percent after the company posted a drop in profits in the last quarter.
There was lots of action in the media business. Time Warner (TWX) gained a whopping 17 percent after rejecting an offer from 21st Century Fox (FOXA) which fell 6 percent. Analysts expect lots of consolidation in the industry, which helped boost some of the big players. Discovery (DISCA) gained 6 percent, Scripps Networks (SNI) jumped almost 5 percent and Viacom (VIAB), the owner of CBS, was up more than 3 percent.
And IBM (IBM) shares traded higher after announcing it would be working with its former rival, Apple, to develop business apps. IBM was up 2 percent, Apple (AAPL) fell half a percent.
Blackberry (BBRY) though didn't do well on the back of that news. Its stock was lower by almost 12 percent.
But casino equipment maker International Game Technology (IGT) had a stellar day gaining 9 percent after news Italy's GTech SpA, a lottery operator, is buying it.
-Produced by Karina Huber.
What to Watch Thursday:
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases housing starts for June; the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims; and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia releases its survey business conditions in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates at 10 a.m.
The major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Baker Hughes (BHI)
Baxter International (BAX)
Blackstone Group (BX)
Capital One Financial (COF)
Credit Suisse (CS)
Morgan Stanley (MS)
Philip Morris International (PM)
PPG Industries (PPG)
Seagate Technology (STX)
Sherwin Williams (SHW)
UnitedHealth Group (UNH)