Stocks gain on encouraging signs in spending and home sales

U.S. stock indexes are closing higher following encouraging news on consumer spending and home sales.

Energy stocks and banks had some of the biggest gains Monday.

UnitedHealth Group jumped 2.5 percent after the nation's largest health insurer said it would buy pharmacy benefits manager Catamaran.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 263 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,976.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 25 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,086. The Nasdaq composite climbed 56 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,947.

Homebuilders rose after a gauge of future home sales surged to its highest level since June 2013.

Separately, the government reported that consumer spending edged up in February following two months of declines.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.96 percent.
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