US STOCKS-Wall St up on earnings bets, M&A hopes

* Miners rise as gold hits record high, silver up

* German industrial orders advance far beyond expectations

* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to morning)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 rose near a
seven-week high on Wednesday as investors bet the upcoming
earnings season and more merger activity will continue to lift
equities.

The S&P 500 inched closer to 1,344, which would be the
highest since June 2008 and has been a resistance level where
continued buying could lead to a technical breakout.

The Dow industrials hit its highest intraday since 2008.

Miner shares rose as gold prices rallied to a record high
against a backdrop of a weaker U.S. dollar and investor worries
over inflation and unrest in North Africa and the Middle East.
Silver touched a fresh 31-year peak. For details, see
[ID:nL9E7EL002].

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 2.6 percent
to $58.06. Gold for June delivery (GCv1: Quote, Profile, Research) rallied to a record
high at $1,463.30 an ounce. [ID:nLDE7350OK].

“There’s optimism earnings will be good for the first
quarter,” said Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook
Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

“Semiconductors are up on expectation of more M&A activity
in the tech sector,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) added 33.57 points,
or 0.27 percent, to 12,427.47. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 4.71 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,337.34. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 19.72 points, or 0.71
percent, to 2,810.91.

Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) shares gained 4 percent to $40 after
Oppenheimer raised its rating on the chipmaker and set a price
target of $55. [ID:nL3E7F61DU].

Purchases of major items sent German industrial orders
soaring above expectations in February, data showed on
Wednesday, in a further sign Europe’s largest economy was
outshining its neighbors. Orders grew by 2.4 percent in the
month, compared to the Reuters forecast for an increase of 0.6
percent. [ID:nLDE7350XH].
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Wall St up on earnings bets, M&A hopes