Updated from 4:15 p.m. EDT
Stocks headed higher again Wednesday as upbeat earnings and continued talk of takeovers had traders too afraid to sit on the sidelines and potentially miss out on another session of gains.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
climbed 75.74 points, or 0.58%, to 13,211.88 and had its fifth record close in the last six days. The Dow touched an all-time intraday high of 13,256.33, a rise of 120 points, before retreating.
Out of the Dow's 30 components, only five ended the day in negative territory.
led the winners with increases of 2.8% or more.
was stronger by 9.62 points, or 0.65%, to 1495.92, and the
added 26.31 points, or 1.04%, to 2557.84.
Volume and breadth were strong. About 3.21 billion shares changed hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
, with advancers beating decliners by a 3-to-1 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 2.15 billion shares, with winners outpacing losers 7 to 3.
Among subsector indices, the Amex Gold Bugs Index rose 1.4%, the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index finished with a 1.3% gain, and both the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Sector Index were up 0.9%.
Lending support to the case for buying were proposals that could see two of the best-known U.S. media names acquired. One was
, who said in the prior session that it received a $5 billion buyout offer from Rupert Murdoch's
Shares of Dow Jones jumped more than 50% in the wake of the bid, and more broadly the move helped the New York market overcome a directionless morning Tuesday and finish to the upside.
The Dow rose 73.23 points, or 0.6%, to 13,136.14 and recorded its fourth record close of the past five days. The S&P 500 gained 3.93 points, or 0.3%, to 1486.30, and the Nasdaq was up 6.44 points, or 0.3%, at 2531.53.
Meanwhile, the other prospective deal could see cable-system operator and Madison Square Garden owner
taken private by its controlling family in a $10.5 billion transaction. Shares of Cablevision gained $3.23, or 9.9%, to finish at $35.90.
"The market continues to march on," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist Avalon Partners. "The merger news from yesterday was positive and stirs up a lot of questions about who's next. Investors here are enjoying the ride despite the fact we may have gotten ahead of ourselves. We're due for a pullback at any time. Unless we get any catalysts to reverse the bullish sentiment, though, we could probably see even more short-term gains."
Away from M&A but staying in the media sector,
said its earnings for the latest quarter were better than analysts expected, and it raised its full-year profit forecast. Time Warner added 35 cents, or 1.7%, to $20.94.
jumped 10% after the credit card company posted first-quarter earnings that handily beat estimates. Revenue also topped the Thomson First Call consensus. The stock finished higher by $11.50 to $126.35.
raised its guidance, and
topped Wall Street's targets.
was also stronger than anticipated, while
Among ratings changes, UBS downgraded
to neutral from buy, a day after the stock dropped 17.3% on an abysmal first-quarter earnings report. On Wednesday, Liz lost another $1.86, or 5%, to $35.14.
Banc of America Securities initiated coverage of
with a sell rating and a stock price target of $75. Shares were lower by 64 cents, or 0.8%, at $82.69.
On the economic docket, the Commerce Department said factory orders rose a greater-than-expected 3.1% in March. Economists expect orders to rise 2.1% for the month, compared with a revised 1.4% increase in February.
Treasury prices were edging lower. The 10-year note was down 1/32 in price to yield 4.64%, and the 30-year bond gave back 2/32 to yield 4.82%.
Energy prices were mixed after the Energy Department's weekly inventory report. The front-month June oil contract fell $1.13 to close at $63.68 a barrel, while natural gas tacked on 2 cents at $7.73 per million British thermal units.
The latest weekly inventory figures showed a rise of 1.1 million barrels in crude inventories. Gasoline stocks fell by a less-than-expected 1 million barrels, the 12th straight weekly decline, while distillate stocks eased 200,000 barrels.
Metals prices lost ground. Gold finished lower by $2.20 to $675.10 an ounce and silver shed 3 cents at $13.33 an ounce.
World markets, a day after most were closed for a holiday, were climbing. London's FTSE was up 1%, and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX tacked on 0.6%. Overnight in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei added 0.7%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3%.