Stocks rose on Monday, as a move toward a key technical level on the S&P 500 drew support, while the latest plan to help Greece solve its debt woes eased some investor worries.
Euro-zone finance ministers gave Greece two weeks from Monday to approve stricter austerity measures in return for another 12 billion euros in emergency loans, piling pressure on Athens to get its ragged finances in order.
Stocks erased early losses as the S&P 500 dipped toward 1,259.78, its 200-day moving average. A drop below that level would be the first since September 2010.
When you're in the midst of a bullish trend since July of last year -- that's when the bottom was -- I think people tend to look for places to buy dips, and this is just an obvious place to expect some buying to come into the market, said John Kosar, director of research at Asbury Research in Chicago.
The S&P 500 is up about 22 percent since the end of August.
The CBOE Volatility Index <.VIX>, known as the VIX, slid 6.8 percent, its biggest drop in a month.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> climbed 79.13 points, or 0.66 percent, to 12,083.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.45 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,278.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 15.59 points, or 0.60 percent, at 2,632.07.
The euro-zone finance ministers expect the money, the next tranche in a 110-billion-euro bailout of Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, to be paid by mid-July. Greece needs the loans by then to avoid a debt default.
The S&P health-care index <.GSPA> rose 0.9 percent and ranked among the session's top-performing sectors.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a tamper-resistant pain drug from Pfizer Inc
Wal-Mart Stores Inc
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)