U.S. equities finished higher Monday, with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite each closing at fresh record levels. Trade optimism provided a tailwind to risk assets on news that Chinese officials are reportedly working to increase protection and enforcement on intellectual property violations, which has been a key sticking point for the U.S. in negotiations. Furthermore, a White House official suggested that a “phase one” deal remains possible before the end of the year. The Dow climbed 190 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.3%.
Technology shares outperformed, with NVIDIA advancing 4.9% following an analyst upgrade. In M&A news, Tiffany & Co jumped 6.2% after agreeing to be acquired by Louis Vuitton parent LVMH in a $16.2 billion deal. TD Ameritrade rose 7.6% following news Charles Schwab would purchase the company in an all-stock merger worth roughly $26 billion.
Treasuries strengthened slightly, with the yield on the 10-year note down one basis point to 1.76%. On the data front, a Dallas Fed update showed manufacturing activity in the region improved in November. In commodities, WTI crude added 0.4% to $58.01/barrel, looking to extend a three-week winning streak. COMEX gold fell 0.6% to $1,454.50/ounce.
Last week, the major averages slipped from all-time highs, as investors worried about the state of a preliminary U.S.-China trade accord and digested a mixed batch of retail earnings. The Dow and S&P 500 snapped a six-week winning streak, while the Nasdaq Composite ended a seven-week stretch of gains.