U.S. stocks headed for a second straight day of gains on Monday, boosted by AIG's deal to sell a unit for $35.5 billion and efforts to solve Greece's debt problems, which have clouded the outlook for global recovery.
American International Group Inc
The market always loves merger and acquisition activity because it means people or other companies are finding value out there in the market place, said Scott Marcouiller, senior equity market strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, Missouri.
There were also some positive signs from the economy after disappointing data last week. U.S. consumer spending increased slightly faster than expected in January while the U.S. manufacturing sector grew, bolstering the view the economy is recovering modestly.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 75.73 points, or 0.73 percent, to 10,400.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 10.55 points, or 0.96 percent, to 1,115.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 34.38 points, or 1.54 percent, to 2,272.64.
Helping Nasdaq, SanDisk Corp
Stocks have been strong recently, with the S&P 500 rising for seven of the last ten sessions.
It's been a pretty good mix of groups today, so you've had strong underlying leadership too, and the rally has been quite broad, said Marcouiller.
The S&P 500 is now off only 3 percent from a 15-month closing high reached on January 19. It had fallen by more than 8 percent from the peak through February 8.
Adding to Monday's gains were signs that Athens might be nearing a deal with European Union governments for some form of emergency aid. U.S.-listed shares of National Bank of Greece
The NYSE Arca Biotech index <.BTK> jumped 5.4 percent, led by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc
Data from the Institute for Supply Management showed the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in February, though the pace was slower than economists polled by Reuters forecast.
Government data showed U.S. consumer spending increased slightly faster than expected in January as consumers dipped into their savings while incomes rose slightly.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)