NEW YORK — A flurry of buyout deals and rising optimism about U.S.-China trade talks sent stocks back to record heights Monday, the latest bit of fuel for a market that’s been climbing since early last month.

Technology stocks and smaller companies led the way after China issued new guidelines for the protection of patents and copyrights.

Theft of such intellectual property has been a big sticking point in the trade war between the world’s largest economies, and markets saw China’s move as an encouraging sign for negotiations on the first phase of a deal.

Not only did stocks rise worldwide, the price of gold fell as investors saw less need for safety. A measure of fear in the U.S. stock market called the VIX volatility index also touched its lowest level since July.

The S&P 500 rose 23.35 points, or 0.8%, to 3,133.64.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 190.85, or 0.7%, to 28,066.47, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 112.60, or 1.3%, to 8,632.49. All three indexes set records.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose even more, though it is still below its peak set last year. It surged 32.96, or 2.1%, to 1,621.90.

Stocks have been rallying for weeks as worries about a possible U.S. recession have faded. A resilient job market, which helps households continue to spend, and three interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have bolstered confidence.

Optimism has not been as high for other economies around the world, though, where growth remains slow, said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

“People are still nervous about the rest of the world,” he said. “All of this is sort of acting as funnel, directing cash into U.S. equities.”

More clues about the resilience of U.S. consumer spending should arrive soon when retailers report on this week’s kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Economists say it needs to remain healthy given pullbacks in spending by businesses amid all the trade uncertainty.

“It’s a battle between nervous businesses and confident consumers,” Kelly said.

Some companies showed confidence to spend Monday by announcing big buyout deals.

Charles Schwab said it would buy rival TD Ameritrade for about $26 billion, and French luxury group LVMH agreed to pay $16.2 billion for Tiffany.

Tiffany jumped 6.2% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500, while Schwab rose 2.3% and TD Ameritrade gained 7.6%.

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