* Bank of America rises on profit beat
* Chip stocks rise on SoftBank deal to buy ARM Holdings
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct (Updates to afternoon, changes byline)
By Rodrigo Campos
July 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Monday as Bank of America’s better-than-expected profit and a tech sector deal fed recent optimism about a stronger U.S. economy.
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.
Bank of America’s earnings report continued the momentum for U.S. banks, kicked off by JPMorgan last week. The bank’s shares rose 3.6 percent to $14.15, 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.
“What’s really important is people are revising up their earnings numbers. You see more cyclical (sectors) taking over leadership and less of the bond-like stocks.”
The year-on-year decline in earnings of S&P 500 components is now expected to slow to 4.5 percent in the second quarter, from 5 percent in the first, and more companies are expected to beat analysts’ estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.56 points, or 0.09 percent, to 18,534.11, the S&P 500 gained 5.55 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,167.29 and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.09 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,059.68.
The SoftBank deal sent ARM’s U.S.-listed shares surging 41.5 percent, while the semiconductor index rose 1.6 percent and is on track to close at its highest in 13 months.
Hasbro fell 7.6 percent to $79 on concerns of slowing growth in the toy maker’s biggest business, which makes toys for boys. Rival Mattel was down 0.8 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.76-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.41-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 106 new highs and 19 new lows. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan; Editing by Nick Zieminski)