Stocks rose on Monday, boosted by AIG's deal to sell its Asian life insurance unit and prospects for solving Greece's debt problems, which have increased fears about the outlook for global recovery.
American International Group Inc
M&A activity is always good for the markets, but especially with AIG, since if they raise money, that raises the odds of getting some TARP payback, which is a positive no matter how you view it, said Mark Pado, market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.
The government's Troubled Asset Relief Program purchased assets and equity from troubled institutions to strengthen the financial sector during the credit crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 59.18 points, or 0.58 percent, to 10,384.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 8.65 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,113.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> jumped 29.28 points, or 1.31 percent, to 2,267.48.
Stocks have been strong recently, and in February posted their best monthly advance since November on signs of improvement in the economy.
Adding to Monday's gains were signs that Athens might be nearing a deal with European Union governments to take more action on its budget in exchange for some form of emergency aid. U.S.-listed shares of National Bank of Greece
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.
Any progress with Greece is definitely a relief for that nagging issue, and you have to give a lot of credit to the consumer spending data since January isn't typically a strong month for that, Pado said.
The NYSE Arca Biotech index <.BTK> jumped 5.5 percent, led by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc
The PHLX Semiconductor index <.SOXX> added 2.7 percent.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)