FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets built on record highs on Monday as traders reviewed a slew of M&A deals.

Today's Markets

As of 3:20 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.4 points, or 0.1%, to 16941, the S&P 500 ticked 1.2 points higher, or 0.06%, to 1951 and the Nasdaq Composite also rose 12.7 points, or 0.29%, to 4334.

Wall Street closed out last week with record highs, buoyed by a move by the European Central Bank to cut interest rates, and launch a fresh liquidity program in a bid to fight low inflation. The S&P 500 is up 5.5% for the year as the broad-market barometer shook off a quick bout of worries earlier in the year. 

A smattering of M&A activity took the focus on Wall Street Monday. Tyson Foods (TSN) said it made a binding offer to buy Hillshire Brands (HSH) in a deal valued at $8.6 billion, including debt, after winning a bidding contest that concluded over the weekend. Merck (MRK) said it would by Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) for about $3.85 billion -- sending shares of the stock surging. Analog Devices (ADI) said it would purchase Hittite Microwave (HITT) in a deal worth roughly $2 billion.

Meanwhile, Apple's (AAPL) seven-for-one stock split goes into effect on the day, raising the chances the world's biggest tech company will be included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 

There are no major reports on the economic calendar. However, data released on Sunday showed Chinese exports rebounded last month. 

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 88 cents, or 0.87%, to $103.54. Wholesale gasoline climbed 0.78% to $2.962 a gallon. Gold advance $4.30, or 0.34%, to $1,257 a troy ounce.

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.