Wall Street continues stellar run

US stocks close higher with traders again pushing the main indices to fresh heights.

US stocks have closed higher to start the week, with traders again pushing the main indices to fresh heights.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.82 points, or 0.11%, to 16,943.10.

The S&P 500 added 1.83 points, or 0.09%, to 1,951.27, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 14.84 points, or 0.34%, to 4,336.24.

The moves ensured it was the third consecutive trading day both the S&P 500 and Dow secured records. For the S&P 500 a close above last Friday's represented its sixth new peak in just seven days.

Today's lift came despite a lack of economic data, with no significant releases in the US and trade in Europe impacted by holidays.

As a result, investors were largely focussed on company news, with the latest signs of burgeoning M&A activity exciting traders.

Chief protagonist today was giant meat processor Tyson Foods, which topped Pilgrim's Pride in the race for control of hot dog maker Hillshire Foods in a near $10 billion deal.

The acquisitive Merck was also in the action again, offering about $4bn for antiviral drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals.

Meanwhile, McDonald's fell 0.5 per cent after announcing sales numbers that were largely in line with forecasts.

The economic calendar in the US is quite light for the rest of the week, with retail sales on Thursday the only major data release on the agenda