* 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.”
Second-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies are likely to fall 4.5 percent, compared with the 5 percent drop in the first quarter, with more of them expected to beat analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At 10:53 a.m. ET (1453 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 28.35 points, or 0.15 percent, at 18,544.9 - 12 points away from its all-time intraday high.
The S&P 500 was up 4.73 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,166.47, just two points off its record intraday high.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 27.03 points, or 0.54 percent, at 5,056.62.
Five of the 10 major S&P indexes were higher.
Technology stocks were up 0.8 percent, leading the gainers, ahead of reports from IBM, Yahoo and Netflix after the close.
British chip designer ARM’s U.S.-listed shares surged 42.4 percent to $67.03, after Japan’s SoftBank agreed to buy the company for $32.2 billion.
The energy sector were down 0.5 percent. Oil prices fell more than 2 percent as traders did not expect the failed coup attempt in Turkey to affect supply.
Hasbro’s 6.3 percent drop led the decliners on the S&P on concerns of slowing growth in the toymaker’s biggest business, which makes toys for boys. Rival Mattel was down nearly 1 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,752 to 1,069. On the Nasdaq, 1,599 issues rose and 1,032 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 89 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)