By Arjun Panchadar
(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes hit record highs on Monday, as a report that the United States and China were nearing a trade truce sparked a rally in Apple and semiconductor stocks, with sentiment also buoyed by a raft of blockbuster deals.
Gains in trade-sensitive chip stocks, including Applied Materials Inc (O:) and Lam Research Corp (O:), helped lift the Philadelphia Semiconductor index () 2.27% after a Chinese state-backed tabloid said Beijing and Washington were “very close” to an initial pact.
That added to optimism from comments over the weekend by a top U.S. official that an agreement was still possible by the end of the year, dispelling fears that the negotiations could carry on into 2020.
Apple Inc (O:) rose 1.3% and was the top boost to the S&P and Nasdaq, while it provided the second-biggest support to the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.
“The mood is pretty positive at this point,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Gains on Monday were broad-based, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq () firming over 1.1% and eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors higher. The technology sector () gained the most on the benchmark index, rising 1.25%.
“You got mergers today, which are typically positive for the market, and I think you still have some optimism that there’s going to be a trade deal,” Brown said.
Tiffany & Co (N:) jumped 6% and was the biggest gainer on the S&P 500 as the luxury jeweler agreed to a sweetened $16.2 billion deal with France’s LVMH (PA:).
U.S. discount brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp (O:) was up 6.4% after larger rival Charles Schwab Corp (N:) said it would buy the company in an all-stock deal valued at about $26 billion. Schwab rose 1.3%.
EBay Inc (O:) gained 1.4% after the e-commerce major said it would sell ticketing unit StubHub to ticket reseller Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash.
Trade deal hopes and robust third-quarter corporate earnings have helped Wall Street’s main indexes scale record levels this month.
At 11:43 a.m. ET, the Dow () was up 128.17 points, or 0.46%, at 28,003.79, the S&P 500 () was up 19.16 points, or 0.62%, at 3,129.45 and the Nasdaq Composite () was up 99.90 points at 8,619.78.
Among other stocks, Nvidia Corp (O:) rose 4.8% and was the top gainer on the chip index as Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) upgraded its shares to “overweight” from “equal weight”.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.22-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3.57-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 100 new highs and 40 new lows.
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