Wall Street's rise continued on Monday, with the Nasdaq up for a ninth straight day as moves by China to rein in inflation weren't as aggressive as had been feared.

The move suggested optimism that stocks would continue rallying through the rest of the year, even as some technical indicators suggested a near-term correction could be in the cards.

China's central bank extended an increase in reserve requirements for top banks rather than raise benchmark interest rates over the weekend, easing concerns of aggressive tightening, which could slow expansion in one of the major economic global growth engines.

This is a less aggressive stance than had been feared, said Alec Young, equity strategist at S&P Equity Research in New York. The world has become accustomed to China being a driver of global economic growth, and we're a long way from having such strong growth here that we can afford to ignore them.

Healthcare stocks jumped briefly on news that a Virginia judge invalidated a key part of the March healthcare overhaul championed by President Obama but quickly fell back. After rising as much as 1.6 percent, the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index <.HMO> slid 0.1 percent. Shares of health insurer Aetna rose 0.9 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 37.43 points, or 0.33 percent, at 11,447.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 4.84 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,245.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 5.82 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,643.36.

The Nasdaq is on tap for its ninth straight day of gains, while the S&P reached another high for the year on Monday, advancing to an intraday peak at 1,246.18.

The S&P 500's steady climb since breaching 1,228 -- a key retracement of the 2007-2009 bear market losses -- has been judged a sign of further gains, even as the relative strength index suggests stocks are nearing an overbought condition.

In deal news, General Electric Co said it would buy British oilfield services company Wellstream Holdings Plc while Dell Inc agreed to buy data storage company Compellent Technologies Inc .

GE's stock shed 0.3 percent to $17.69 after it reached a deal to buy Wellstream by raising its bid for the British oil drilling pipe maker by 6 percent to $1.3 billion.

The PHLX oil service index <.OSX> jumped 1.9 percent.

Dell fell 2.9 percent to $13.48 after the personal computer company sweetened its cash offer for Compellent to $27.75 a share. Compellent fell 3 percent to $27.84 after having traded above $34 last week.

Private equity firm Bain Capital agreed to buy IMCD, valuing the Dutch chemicals firm at around $857.5 million, while scientific instruments maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc is set to acquire Dionex Corp for $2.1 billion.

Thermo Fisher shares rose 3.5 percent to $54.87 and Dionex jumped 20 percent to $117.94.

Apple Inc rose 1.1 percent to $324.11 after Goldman Sachs resumed coverage on the stock with a buy rating, saying that new product launches in the first half of 2011 would serve as catalyst for the tech giant's shares.

U.S. President Barack Obama's tax deal with Republicans will likely win grudging passage in the U.S. Congress, backers and critics agreed, after Obama clashed with liberals in his own party who branded it a giveaway to the rich.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)