US STOCKS-Wall St higher as BofA earnings bolster optimism
* Bank of America rises on profit beat
* Oil drops, leads energy stocks lower
* ARM surges on SoftBank deal
* Indexes up: Dow 0.15 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.54 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
July 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street gained on Monday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 near record highs, as Bank of America's better-than-expected profit boosted optimism about U.S. corporate reports.
Bank of America's report continued the momentum for U.S. banks kicked off by JPMorgan last week. The bank's shares rose 1.6 percent to $13.87, helping the S&P financial index gain 0.3 percent.
"We're now on to the next shiny new object and that's earnings season," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
"As long as companies beat earnings estimates, investors will feel comfortable buying stocks." Continuación...