Stocks traded higher on Monday, the last day of the month, as investors kept an eye on the latest trade developments between the U.S. and China.
Health care was the best-performing sector in the S&P 500, climbing 0.9%. Tech advanced 0.7% as Apple shares rose 1.5% on a price-target increase by an analyst at J.P. Morgan. The analyst's new price target implies a more-than 20% increase for the tech giant over the next 12 months.
Wall Street ended lower last week on reports that the White House is considering limiting U.S. investment into China, including a possible delisting of Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges, in a further escalation of the ongoing trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
Chinese state media called the potential restrictions "the latest attempt at decoupling" and warned of "significant repercussions for the Chinese and U.S. economies, as well as their companies, in the future."
In a statement over the weekend, however, a Treasury spokeswoman said "the administration is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges at this time." The statement, along with better-than-expected economic data out of China, lifted Wall Street sentiment on Monday.
U.S. and China trade delegations are due to meet on Oct. 10 as both sides try to move closer to a deal. Both countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods, dampening expectations for economic and corporate profit growth.
The major indexes were headed for a mixed monthly performance. The Nasdaq Composite was down slightly for September entering Monday's session while the S&P 500 and Dow were up more than 1%.
"The fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong but investors' skittishness has caused stocks to fluctuate with the ebb and flow of news headlines," Doug Peta, chief U.S. investment strategist at BCA Research, said in a note. "The U.S.-China trade war continues to loom as the biggest risk to the global economy and the main source of investor angst."
Peta noted, however: "If hard-nosed trade policy appeared to be pushing the economy in the direction of a recession, it is likely the administration would dial down its aggressiveness."
Monday also marked the end of the third quarter. Both the Dow and S&P 500 were headed for their third straight quarterly gains. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, was on pace to notch its first quarterly decline of 2019.
—CNBC's Elliot Smith contributed to this report.