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US stock indexes move higher in midday trade, led by an advances in energy companies and banks

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NEW YORK — Stocks indexes are climbing sharply at midday following some encouraging news on consumer spending and home sales.

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

UnitedHealth Group jumped 2.4 percent after the nation's largest health insurer said it would buy pharmacy benefits manager Catamaran.

PHOTO: FILE - This July 16, 2013 file photo shows a Wall Street street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks are starting the week sharply higher Monday, March 30, 2015, led by energy companies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - This July 16, 2013 file photo shows a Wall Street street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. U.S. stocks are starting the week sharply higher Monday, March 30, 2015, led by energy companies. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 261 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,977 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,082. The Nasdaq composite climbed 42 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,933.

The price of oil fell 64 cents to $48.24 a barrel in New York.

Government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.96 percent from 1.97 percent late Friday.

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