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Stock market news: November 25, 2019

U.S. stocks advanced after China signaled it was making headway in addressing some of the Trump administration’s biggest sticking points in the path to a trade deal.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each jumped to record intraday and closing highs, with the latter surging more than 1%. The information tech sector led advances in the S&P 500, while utilities lagged. The Dow jumped nearly 200 points to a fresh closing high, led by gains in shares of Intel (INTC) and UnitedHealth (UNH).

Here’s where the markets settled Monday at the end of regular equity trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.75%, or 23.35 points

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.68%, or 190.85 points

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +1.32%, or 112.6 points

  • 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): -1.2 bp to 1.762%

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.6% to $1,454.80 per ounce

[More: Here’s what’s happening in markets Tuesday, Nov. 26]

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.

“Strengthening IPR protection is the most important content of improving the IPR protection system and also the biggest incentive to boost China’s economic competitiveness,” the guidelines detailed.

Meanwhile, the Global Times – a mouthpiece for China’s Communist Party – underscored progress toward a trade agreement in a Twitter post Monday.

“Contrary to the negative media reports, China and the US are very close to the phase one trade deal, and China remains committed to continuing talks on a phase two or even a phase three deal with the US, on equal footing, experts close to the Chinese govt told GT,” the media outlet wrote in the post.

The fresh updates on the trade front helped boost risk assets, with major stock indices in Asia, Europe and contracts on U.S. futures leaping in early trading. Gold prices (GC=F) and the VIX (^VIX), or the so-called “fear gauge,” declined.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York City, U.S., November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Merger Monday

Charles Schwab (SCHW) is buying TD Ameritrade (AMTD) in an all-stock transaction valued at about $26 billion, both companies said in press releases Monday, confirming reports from last week about a tie-up between the two brokerage firms. As part of the agreement, TD Ameritrade stockholders will receive 1.0837 Schwab shares for each TD Ameritrade share, representing an about 17% premium over Wednesday’s closing prices for TD Ameritrade shares.

The combined company would have 24 million client accounts and more than $5 trillion in client assets. Put together, Schwab and TD Ameritrade have annual revenue of about $25 billion.

LVMH (MC.PA, LVMUY), the world’s largest luxury group, said Monday that it will acquire Tiffany (TIF) in an all-stock transaction valued at about $16.2 billion, wherein LVMH will pay $135 per share in cash for each share of Tiffany. Tiffany, a global jeweler recently hit with slowing sales in key areas including Asia, joins LVMH’s crowded portfolio of more than 75 luxury brands, including Christian Dior, Bulgari and the recently taken-up Fenty beauty line by Rihanna. The deal is expected to close in mid-2020, the companies said.

“We have an immense respect and admiration for Tiffany and intend to develop this jewel with the same dedication and commitment that we have applied to each and every one of our Maisons,” Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of LVMH, said in a statement. “We will be proud to have Tiffany sit alongside our iconic brands and look forward to ensuring that Tiffany continues to thrive for centuries to come.”

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis (NVS) agreed to purchase The Medicines Co. (MDCO), a maker of cholesterol drugs, in a deal valued at about $9.7 billion, both companies said Sunday. Novartis will pay $85 per share to stockholders of The Medicines Co., representing an about 24% premium over the latter’s closing prices Friday. The deal to buy The Medicine Co., which is developing a drug called inclisiran to help lower cholesterol in patients using a new RNA interference system, boosts Novartis’s portfolio of heart treatments, “a key therapeutic area” and “central pillar of its M&A strategy,” according to the company.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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