* AT&T falls after saying it will buy Time Warner Inc
* B/E Aerospace jumps after Rockwell Collins deal
* Third-qtr earnings expected to grow after four qrtrs of losses
* Indexes up: Dow 0.30 pct, S&P 0.33 pct, Nasdaq 0.79 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks touched their highest levels in two weeks as a flurry of deal activity and strong quarterly earnings boosted investor confidence.
Investors are also parsing 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.
“It’s been a pretty good quarter for earnings so far and we might finally see the end of earnings recession. If you look at the companies that have reported so far, most of them have outperformed the long-term average in profit and revenue,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
Third-quarter earnings are expected to increase 1.1 percent after four consecutive quarters of contraction, according to Thomson Reuters data. Of the 120 S&P companies that have reported earnings, 77.5 percent have beat analyst expectations, above the long-term average of 63.5 percent.
“M&A activity is generally seen as a bullish trend for the market,” Frederick said.
AT&T was down 1.6 percent at $36.88 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 2.2 percent at $87.56.
At 12:45 p.m. ET (1645 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 54.48 points, or 0.3 percent, at 18,200.19, the S&P 500 was up 6.97 points, or 0.33 percent, at 2,148.13 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 41.65 points, or 0.79 percent, at 5,299.05.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with technology index’s 0.92 percent rise leading the advancers.
Microsoft was up 1.4 percent at $60.50 and was the biggest boost on the S&P and Nasdaq.
T-Mobile US jumped as much as 7.8 pct to a more than nine-year high of $50.41, after the wireless provider reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its forecast for customer additions for the year.
The dollar index was little changed at 98.75 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.
TD Ameritrade fell 2.9 percent to $35.99 after it said it would buy privately held Scottrade Financial Services in a deal valued at $4 billion.
B/E Aerospace jumped 15.4 percent to $58.40 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 6.9 percent at $78.61.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,631 to 1,236. On the Nasdaq, 1,605 issues rose and 1,084 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 100 new highs and 32 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)