October 24, 2016 / 1:57 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St opens higher as M&A activity boosts confidence

* AT&T falls after saying it will buy Time Warner Inc

* B/E Aerospace jumps after Rockwell Collins deal

* Several Fed members scheduled to speak during the day

* Indexes up: Dow 0.66 pct, S&P 0.54 pct, Nasdaq 0.67 pct (Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened higher on Monday as a flurry of deal activity boosted investor confidence.

AT&T was down 2.5 percent at $36.51 after the telecommunications company said it would buy Time Warner Inc for $85.4 billion. If approved by regulators, this would be the biggest deal in the world this year. Time Warner Inc was down 2.1 percent at $87.53.

“The deal activity suggests that companies are feeling positive about the prospects of the economy and that is encouraging,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

Investors will also parse quarterly earnings reports from companies. More than a third of the S&P 500 components are scheduled to report earnings this week, including heavyweights such as Apple and Boeing.

Third-quarter earnings are expected to increase 1.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data. Of the 116 S&P companies that have reported earnings so far, 79 percent have beat analyst expectations, above the long-term average of 64 percent.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 119.09 points, or 0.66 percent, at 18,264.8, the S&P 500 was up 11.65 points, or 0.54 percent, at 2,152.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 35.32 points, or 0.67 percent, at 5,292.72.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with industrials index’s 0.78 percent rise leading the advancers.

The dollar index was slightly lower at 98.60 against a basket of major currencies, after touching its highest level since early February, last week. A strong dollar could dent the earnings of large multinationals.

Genworth Financial was down 5.4 percent at $4.93 after little-known China Oceanwide Holdings Group pledged $3.8 billion in a deal to take control of the U.S. insurer.

TD Ameritrade fell 1.9 percent to $36.42 after it said it would buy privately held Scottrade Financial Services in a deal valued at $4 billion.

B/E Aerospace jumped 16.2 percent to $58.80 after aircraft component maker Rockwell Collins said it would buy the company in a deal valued at $6.4 billion plus the assumption of $1.9 billion in debt. Rockwell was down 3 percent at $81.90.

Oil prices fell as Iraq said it wanted to be exempt from an OPEC deal to cut production, though losses were capped by Iran saying it would encourage other members to join an output freeze.

A host of Federal Reserve members are scheduled to speak on Monday, including Fed Governor Jerome Powell, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,090 to 563. On the Nasdaq, 1,654 issues rose and 533 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 54 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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