US STOCKS-Wall St gains on Greek deal hopes, oil climb
* Staples, Office Depot in advanced merger talks - WSJ
* Stratasys drops after cutting outlook
* Factory orders fall for fifth straight month
* Indexes up: Dow 1 pct, S&P 0.61 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Adds factory orders data)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Tuesday, as the benchmark S&P 500 index built on a rally in the prior session fueled by hopes of a deal on Greek debt and by rising oil prices.
Stocks rallied late in Monday's session on signs Greece was softening its approach to debt negotiations. A source told Reuters that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in London to reassure private investors he was not seeking a showdown with Brussels over a new debt agreement, said the new left-wing government would spare privately held bonds from losses.
However, the Greek proposal to swap government debt for bonds with interest payments linked to economic growth got a cool reception from euro zone officials on Tuesday.
Adding support to U.S. equities was a further gain in oil prices, with U.S. crude up 3.4 percent to $51.26 and Brent up 2.9 percent to $56.32. Shares of offshore contract driller Transocean gained 6.5 percent to $18.41. Continuación...