Stock Market Today: New Record for Dow, Beige Book Shows Across-the-Board Growth

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book midafternoon nudged the Dow Jones Industrial Average to close at a record high on Wednesday. The Fed noted the economy is expanding at a modest to moderate pace with consumer spending, manufacturing and job growth increasing in all districts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.45% to 17,138.2. The S&P 500 gained 0.42% to 1,981.57. The Nasdaq added on 0.22% to 4,425.97.

Earlier gains were helped along by the first acceleration of Chinese economic growth in three quarters and large-caps Time Warner (TWX) and IBM (IBM) fueling positive equities sentiment.

China's GDP grew 7.5% over the second quarter, slightly higher than expected by analysts and highlighting that the government's stimulus strategies are working. The data moved European markets higher into the close, though Asian markets ended the session mixed.

Time Warner soared 17.1% after confirming it had rejected an $80 billion takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOXA). M&A talk helped other industry names rally, including CBS  (CBS), up 2.3%, Viacom (VIAB), up 3.3%, and Discovery Communications  (DISCA), up 6.3%.

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IBM shares were tacking on 2.1% after Big Blue signed an exclusive deal with Apple  (AAPL) aimed at bringing a slew of new business apps to the mobile market.

In the U.S., the Producer Price Index for June rose 0.4% vs. the expected 0.2%. Industrial production increased by 0.2% in June, while capacity utilization remained at 79.1%. The NAHB Housing Market Index showed a 4-point bump to 53 in July, higher than analysts' estimates of 51.

In her second day of semiannual monetary policy testimony to Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen elaborated on her remarks Tuesday that some sectors of the markets, notably biotech and social media, were overvalued.

"We understand that maintaining interest rates at low levels for a long time can incent reach-for-yield or asset bubbles, so we are monitoring this very closely, and that's in part why I referenced some of these trends in my opening testimony," she said.

Bank of America  (BAC) retreated 1.9% after reporting a 43% drop in second-quarter net income to $2.3 billion, driven down by a decline in mortgage revenue and a surge in legal costs tied to the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis.

Intel (INTC) soared 9.3% to $34.65 after reporting second-quarter earnings up 40%, topping forecasts, as revenue rose 8% to $13.83 billion.

Yahoo! (YHOO) tumbled 5.1% after missing earnings estimates by a penny and reporting revenue around $40 million lower than expected. In separate news, the internet giant agreed to hold onto more Alibaba shares, once the e-commerce giant goes public on the New York Stock Exchange in what is expected to be the largest-ever initial public offering in the United States.

Hershey (HSY) was also lower, down 2.3% to $92.34, after informing that it will raise prices for most of its products by an average 8%.

-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff and Andrea Tse in New York.

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