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Stocks rise after Trump pushes back March trade deal deadline

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Stocks rose on Monday after President Donald Trump said he would delay placing additional tariffs on Chinese goods. Equities also got a boost from dealmaking activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped as much as 209.61 points before closing 60.14 points higher, at 26,091.95 led by gains in  Caterpillar and DowDuPont. The gained 0.1 percent to 2,796.11 as the materials and tech sectors outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.36 percent to close at 7,554.46. The major indexes fell towards the lows of the day in the final minutes of trading.

Trump said in a series of tweets the U.S. would not add more tariffs on imports from China at the start of March. He cited "substantial progress " in bilateral talks between the world's two largest economies, including intellectual property protection and technology transfer issues. However, he did not state a new deadline.

Chinese stocks rallied on Trump's tweets overnight. The Shanghai Composite surged 5.6 percent, posting its biggest one-day gain since July 9, 2015. Meanwhile, the iShares China Large-Cap exchange-traded fund (FXI) gained 2 percent in U.S. trading. Trade bellwethers Caterpillar and Boeing rose 1.97 percent and 0.67 percent, respectively.

"As long as China and the U.S. are talking, the market will think something will get done," said Michael Cuggino, president at Permanent Portfolio Funds. "That's a good thing."

A trader gestures while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Trump hinted last week that a delay may be happening when he said the early March deadline was not a "magical date." The news also comes after sources familiar with the situation told CNBC last week that the United States and China are discussing a late March meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.

"The market seems to expect a grand 'trade deal' soon," Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel, wrote in a note. However, "major deals bring unexpected changes, and also the U.S./Europe (autos) conflict awaits."

Sentiment was also lifted after General Electric announced it will sell its biopharmaceutical business to Danaher for $21.4 billion. News of the deal sent GE shares up more than 6 percent. Danaher's stock also jumped 8.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Barrick Gold launched a bid to acquire Newmont Mining for $7 billion in an all-stock deal. If approved, the deal would come after years of stagnant gold prices. The precious metal has been trading between $1,000 and $1,400 per ounce in recent years.

The major indexes kicked off the week after a solid week. The Dow and Nasdaq posted their ninth straight weekly gain last week, while the S&P 500 recorded its eight one-week rise in nine.

"While sentiment is growing a bit more constructive from its December 2018 pessimistic levels, it's nowhere near levels of complacency that marked the peak around this time last year," said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors. "Heading into the final week of February, there still seems to be little with regards to price or momentum lately that would suggest this trend is stalling out."

—CNBC's Spriha Srivastava and Eustance Huang contributed to this report.