* Wall Street closed a fifth week of gains on Friday
* RenaissanceRe to buy Platinum for $1.9 bln
* Cyclical shares lead while telecom falls
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct (Updates to market open)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with major indexes hitting fresh records on the back of multiple merger deals and hopes that China will take further accommodative monetary policy action.
Equities closed a fifth straight week of advances Friday, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending at closing records on the back of accommodative action from central banks in China and Europe.
Sources told Reuters that the Chinese leadership and central bank were ready to cut interest rates again and loosen lending restrictions. Such policy changes in the world’s second-biggest economy could spur more market gains.
“The carry-over effect from China, taken with the fact that the U.S. is pretty healthy, and you have a market with a bias to trend higher, especially on the cyclical front,” said Mike Gibbs, who helps oversee more than $500 billion as co-head of the equity advisory group at Raymond James in Memphis, Tennessee.
Cyclical groups - tied to the pace of economic growth - led gains, with the S&P financial sector up 0.7 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co was up 1.3 percent to $61.21.
The weakest group was telecom, considered a defensive play that underperforms in periods of economic expansion. The group fell 2.1 percent, with AT&T down 2.3 percent to $34.46 and Verizon off 2.5 percent at $48.99.
RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd agreed to buy Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd for $1.9 billion. BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc said it would buy Dutch drug developer Prosensa Holding NV for about $840 million including milestone payments.
Prosena soared 61 percent to $18.43 while Platinum was up 19 percent at $72.90.
Cimatron Ltd jumped 43 percent to $8.70 on heavy volume after 3D Systems Corp agreed to buy the company for $97 million. Shares of 3D rose 1.1 percent to $35.55.
At 9:50 a.m. (1450 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.86 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,827.92, the S&P 500 gained 4.38 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,067.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 20.79 points, or 0.44 percent, to 4,733.76.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,709 to 1,037, for a 1.65-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,656 issues rose and 683 fell for a 2.42-to-1 ratio.
The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 40 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and 25 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)