Stocks finished at new records on Monday, Dec. 18, as investors prepped for passage of a U.S. tax reform bill that is expected to boost corporate profits and increase share buybacks.

The Dow jumped 0.57% on Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.54% and the Nasdaq jumped 0.84% as Wall Street anticipated a vote on Capitol Hill this week that could put the proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut into law by the end of the year. The Nasdaq topped 7,000 for the first time ever but finished the session at 6,995. 

The Dow -- at 24,792 -- has risen more than 5,000 points in 2017. DowDupont Inc. (DWDP)  and Intel Corp. (INTC) were the leading gainers on the blue-chip index.

Global oil prices turned lower on Monday after rising for most of the session.

Futures for Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 0.2% to $63.09 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.7% to $56.96.

Hershey Co. (HSY) reached a deal to acquire Amplify Snack Brands Inc. (BETR) , the maker of SkinnyPop, for $12 a share, or a total of $1.6 billion including debt.

The price of $12 a share values Amplify at a 71% premium to its closing price of $7 on Friday, Dec. 15. Amplify jumped 71% in trading Monday to $12.

CSX Corp. (CSX) shares rose by more than 1% on Monday, reversing earlier losses, following the sudden death of CEO Hunter Harrison and questions over the fate of the freight company's multi-billion turnaround strategy.

Harrison, 73, had taken a medical leave of absence from the company last week but died Saturday "due to unexpectedly severe complications from a recent illness," the company said in a statement. "Calling Harrison a "larger-than-life" figure, CSX Chairman Edward Kelly vowed to "continue to consider in a deliberative way how best to maximize CSX's performance over the long term."

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) shares gained 11% to $24.37 as the social media group begins to enforce rules that will crack down on extremist content and possibly smooth the path for renewed takeover interest in the microblogging platform. The stock also appeared to be a getting a bump from a Monday upgrade by JPMorgan Chase, which raised its price target on the company to $27 from $20 and shifted it recommendation to "overweight."

Snyder's-Lance Inc. (LNCE) jumped 6.9% on Monday to $49.99 after Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) reached a deal to buy the pretzel and chips maker for $50 a share, or $4.87 billion.

Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI)  slipped 1% despite the stock being initiated with a buy rating at BTIG.

Shares of Walt Disney Co. (DIS)   declined 0.2% on Monday as sentiment was dented following the announcement that ESPN President John Skipper had resigned because of what he called a "substance addiction." The sports network has struggled as its ratings have plummeted.

Bitcoin prices began to converge slowly on Monday as the launch of a second futures contract linked to the cryptocurrency looks to have smoothed some of the gaps around global trading benchmarks as regulators set their sights on the $500 billion market.

The CME Group's debut of its 5-to-1 bitcoin futures contract, which is linked to a reference rate taken from a range of cryptocurrency exchanges, appears to have brought some level of convergence to the market, with its front-month product trading at $18,900 against a $18,810 price quoted for the similar week-old contact trading on the Cboe.

Spot bitcoin prices, which denote immediate purchases of the digital currency, were quoted just above $18,600 on the bitstamp trading platform, one of the main exchanges that feeds prices into the CME Group's calculation of its futures contract.

In economic news on Monday, the National Association of Home Builders' monthly sentiment index rose 5 points to 74 in December, the highest reading since 1999.

Jim Cramer and the AAP team hold positions in Activision Blizzard and DowDupont for their Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells ATVI or DWDP? Learn more now.

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