Stocks ended higher on Monday as the biggest proposed merger of the year enticed buyers into the market, though crises in Japan and the Middle East and North Africa assured continued market volatility.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> jumped 178.01 points, or 1.50 percent, at 12,036.53. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 19.15 points, or 1.50 percent, at 1,298.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> advanced 48.42 points, or 1.83 percent, at 2,692.09.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch)