July 16, 2014: 1:14 PM ET
That was fast. Worries over a possible bubble in biotech and social media stocks quickly faded, sending stocks to record highs on Wednesday.
There’s a lot of good news behind this latest stock surge: Stronger growth in China, a string of upbeat earnings reports and M&A chatter in the media sector.
Here are five things you need to know about your markets:
1. Another record-setting day: Get ready for more fireworks. After the Dow Jones industrial averagetumbled below the 17,000 mark last week, it’s emphatically clawed its way back.
The index set a new all-time intraday record of 17,138 on Wednesday morning. It’s fallen back a bit, but the Dow is still up around 0.35%. The S&P 500 is also flirting with its 26th record close of the year. The broad index would have to finish above 1,985 for that to happen and earlier it was just a few points away.
2. Show me the deals! Time Warner, Fox, Apple and IBM make headlines: Rupert Murdoch is shaking up the media world today.
Time Warner () shares surged 16% to 13-year highs after the owner of HBO and CNNMoney confirmed it received and rejected a takeover offer from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. ( )
Shares of 21st Century Fox, which also owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, dropped almost 5% on the M&A buzz.. While Time Warner rebuffed the buyout, stay tuned for more drama in this emerging story.
In the mean time, the Time Warner bid drove up prices of other media stocks, includingDiscovery Communication, () Viacom ( ), CBS Corp ( ), Comcast ( ),Walt Disney Co ( ) and Scripps Networks Interactive ( ).
Some are wondering whether the Murdoch move could be a bearish signal for the broader markets.
In the tech world, shares of both IBM (Tech30) and Apple ( , Tech30) floated higher after they announced they would join forces to offer iPhones and iPads preloaded with special software developed by IBM. The alliance drove down shares of BlackBerry( , Tech30) by 9%.,
3. Earnings roll in: Earnings continue to largely impress.
Intel Corp (Tech30) popped 7% after the chip maker posted earnings that beat expectations and announced plans to boost its share repurchase program by $20 billion. Intel is now the top performing stock in the Dow for 2014.,
Textron Inc () gained altitude, rising 2% on the Cessna maker’s higher profits and jumping revenue.
Unlike many of its rivals,Bank of America Corp (big drop in second-quarter earnings. While its profits exceeded expectations, BofA disclosed a $4 billion legal charge, showing the bank continues to be dogged by legal headaches.) fell 2% after reporting a
Speaking of bank headaches, PNC () dropped 3.5% after reporting a slight drop in profits and revenue.
After the closing bell, e-commerce giant eBay Inc (Tech30) and Taco Bell ownerYum! Brands ( ) are scheduled to hit the earnings stage.,
4. China GDP: The world’s second biggest economy grew by 7.5% compared with the same period last year, despite continued worries about a slowdown in real estate.
It was the first time the economy has accelerated in three quarters, putting China on a somewhat better footing to reach its official growth target of 7.5% for 2014.
Stocks could be influenced by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s responses to questions from lawmakers on Wednesday. Yellen told lawmakers on Tuesday that the job market still needs Fed stimulus. Also, the central bank’s “Beige Book” of economic commentary from around the U.S. is due out at 2PM ET.