Stocks Advanced on Trade Hopes, Merger Activity

U.S. stocks advanced in the early trading on Monday, as investors remained attuned to developments in the U.S.-China trade relationship and cheered a wave of merger activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately advanced 98.81 points, or 0.35%, to 27,974.43. The S&P 500 rose 14.21 points, or 0.46%, to 3,124.50. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 69.23 points, or 0.81%, to 8,589.12.

Oil prices slipped Monday, but held near two-month highs, as U.S.-China trade uncertainty continued to keep a lid on a generally bullish market. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for January delivery were recently down 9 cents, or about 0.1%, at $57.68 a barrel. January Brent crude lost 9 cents, or 0.1%, at $63.30 a barrel.

The Chinese government issued new guidance Sunday increasing penalties for intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, in a move that signaled a willingness to cooperate with one of the key demands of U.S. trade negotiators.

LVMH buying Tiffany & Co. for a cool $16.2 billion makes a great deal of sense on paper. LVMH’s bet with Tiffany is that it could breathe new life into the brand. That means finally make a successful foray into watches and push deeper into Asia.

The Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) will acquire rival discount broker TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. AMTD, +2.97% in an all-stock transaction valued at around $26 billion, the companies announced Monday.The agreement between the companies would see TD Ameritrade stockholders receive 1.0837 Schwab shares for each TD Ameritrade share, representing a 17% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price exchange ratio as of Nov. 29.

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