U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Monday, following the gains in global equities, after Chinese policymakers refrained from raising interest rates over the weekend.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 3.91 points, or 0.32 percent, to trade at 1,244.31 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 24.11 points, or 0.21 percent, to trade at 11,434.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.13 percent.

Despite high inflation pressure, Chinese policymakers held off on interest rate hike over the weekend, but the central bank hiked the reserve requirement ratio on Friday in the latest move to slow bank lending.

Global markets and commodities advanced as sentiment was buoyed after China’s strong economic data and a lack of interest rate hike by policymakers. China retail sales rose at an 18.7 per cent annualized rate in November, while inflation rose by a higher than expected 5.1 per cent, up from 4.4 per cent in October.

A slew of corporate deals on the M&A front involving GE and Dell also boosted sentiment, while the U.S. Senate will vote today on a bill to extend both the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment insurance.

On the corporate front, Dionex Corp. surged 20.29 percent after Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. said it plans to acquire Dionex for $118.50 a share in cash, in a deal worth $2.1 billion.

US conglomerate GE declined 0.51 percent after it agreed to buy Britain's oilfield-services company Wellstream Holdings Plc for 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion) to broaden its base in fast-growing emerging markets.

Shares of Dell Inc. declined 2.59 percent after the company agreed to acquire data storage company Compellent Technologies Inc. for about $960 million, or about $27.75 per share in cash, to boost its storage presence.

The euro advanced 0.66 percent to 1.3313 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.20 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 1.47 percent to $89.08/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.82 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE100 up by 54.46 points, DAX30 up by 27.47 points and CAC 40 up by 40.75 points.