US STOCKS-Wall St sets records again, led by tech, bank stocks
* Dow, S&P hit new closing highs, while Nasdaq leads gains
* Bank of America rises after profit beat
* Chip stocks rise on SoftBank deal to buy ARM Holdings
* Indexes up: Dow 0.09 pct, S&P 0.24 pct, Nasdaq 0.52 pct (Updates with close of U.S. market)
By Lewis Krauskopf and Rodrigo Campos
July 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street closed slightly higher on Monday to mint new record highs for the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials, fueled by Bank of America's better-than-expected profit and a major tech sector acquisition.
SoftBank's $32-billion deal to buy British chip designer ARM Holdings lifted U.S. chip stocks, and the technology sector led the way higher on the S&P 500. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose more than the S&P and the Dow.
Bank of America's earnings report continued the momentum for U.S. banks, kicked off by JPMorgan last week. The bank's shares rose 3.3 percent to $14.11, helping the S&P financial index gain 0.4 percent.
"The underlying catalyst is a breakout in economic optimism," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis. Continuación...