NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks began the week flirting with intraday highs after closing Friday with new records. The weekend didn't dampen any of the goodwill fostered on global markets last week. Instead, overseas indices extended their rally into this holiday-shortened week.

"The seasonality has a bullish tilt," Raymond James' chief investment strategist Jeffrey D. Saut wrote in a note. "I have learned the hard way that it is difficult to sell stocks off during the ebullient period between Thanksgiving and Christmas ... Thanksgiving week also has a bullish bias with a gain for the week of +0.64% two-thirds of the time."

By midmorning on Monday, the S&P 500 was up 0.25% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.13%. The Nasdaq gained 0.58%.

International markets were climbing as investors continued to celebrate news last week of an unexpected interest rate cut from China's central bank and the European Central Bank's commitment to growth-boosting stimulus measures.

Asian markets finished Monday's session higher with China's Shanghai Composite spiking to a three-year high and Hong Kong's Hang Seng popping nearly 2%.

European markets were mixed, though Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were nearly 1% higher. Investors on the two markets were buying after German business confidence increased for the first time in seven months, beating forecasts.

A flurry of merger activity moved stocks in the insurance and biopharmaceutical industries. Property insurance company Platinum Underwriters (PTP) rocketed 20% higher after RenaissanceRe Holdings' (RNR)  agreed to buy the company for about $1.9 billion.

Small-cap Prosensa Holding (RNA) exploded 62.4% after BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN)  said it would buy the drug developer for $840 million.

3D Systems (DDD) added 2.8% after agreeing to buy micro-cap Cimatron (CIMT) for $97 million. Shares of software company Cimatron surged 44%.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) was climbing 0.32% after CEO Elon Musk shared the potential of a partnership with BMW to develop batteries. Musk expects Tesla to have a battery plant in Germany by 2020.

United Technologies (UTX) was down 0.44% after CEO Louis Chenevert announced his retirement, effective immediately. Chief Financial Officer Gregory Hayes will assume the position.

LionsGate (LGF) shares were slipping 1.5% after its latest installment of the Hunger Games franchise pulled in less than its predecessor. The mega-hit drew $123 million in North American ticket sales, the biggest opening of the year, but less than the $158.1 million The Hunger Games: Catching Fire generated in 2013.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.