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US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq hit new highs as chips climb on trade optimism

By Arjun Panchadar

(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* U.S.-China 'very close' to trade deal - report

* Trade-sensitive chip stocks surge

* Tiffany jumps after $16.2 bln buyout offer from LVMH

* TD Ameritrade rises on $26 bln deal with Charles Schwab

* Indexes rise: Dow 0.52%, S&P 0.63%, Nasdaq 1.19% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Arjun Panchadar

Nov 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes hit fresh record highs on Monday as a report that the United States and China were nearing a trade truce sparked a rally in Apple and semiconductor stocks, with sentiment also buoyed by a raft of blockbuster deals.

Gains in trade-sensitive chip stocks, including Applied Materials Inc and Lam Research Corp, helped lift the Philadelphia Semiconductor index 2.28% after a Chinese state-backed tabloid said Beijing and Washington were "very close" to an initial pact.

That added to optimism from comments over the weekend by a top U.S. official that an agreement was still possible by the end of the year, dispelling fears that the negotiations could spill over into 2020.

Apple Inc rose 1.3%, the top boost to the S&P and Nasdaq and the second-biggest support to the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.

"The mood is pretty positive at this point," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Gains on Monday were broad-based, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq firming over 1.1% and nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors higher. The technology sector gained the most on the benchmark index, rising 1.18%.

"You got mergers today, which are typically positive for the market, and I think you still have some optimism that there's going to be a trade deal," Brown said.

Tiffany & Co jumped 6.3% and was the biggest gainer on the S&P 500 as the luxury jeweler agreed to a sweetened $16.2 billion deal with France's LVMH.

U.S. discount brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp was up 6.9% after larger rival Charles Schwab Corp said it would buy the company in an all-stock deal valued at about $26 billion. Schwab rose 1.6%.

EBay Inc gained 1.5% after the e-commerce major said it would sell ticketing unit StubHub to ticket reseller Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash.

Trade deal hopes and robust third-quarter corporate earnings have helped Wall Street's main indexes scale record levels this month.

At 1:20 p.m. ET the Dow was up 144.63 points, or 0.52%, at 28,020.25, while the S&P 500 was up 19.72 points, or 0.63%, at 3,130.01. The Nasdaq Composite was up 101.81 points at 8,621.69.

Among other stocks, Nvidia Corp rose 4.4% and was the top gainer on the chip index as Morgan Stanley upgraded its shares to "overweight" from "equal weight".

However, Uber Technologies Inc slipped 1.4% as the ride-hailing company was stripped of its license to carry paying passengers in London for the second time in just over two years.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3.26-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 109 new highs and 46 new lows. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)