US STOCKS-U.S. stocks rally; Nasdaq hits highest level since 2000
* Nasdaq closes 5,000 level for first time since March 2000
* S&P, Dow hit records
* Consumer spending falls for second straight month
* Markit manufacturing hits 4-month high, ISM hits 13-month low
* NXP Semi to buy Freescale Semi, HP to buy Aruba
* Indexes up: Dow 0.86 pct, S&P 0.61 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct (Adds market update, commentary)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, March 2 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq on Monday closed above 5,000 for the first time since the year 2000 dot.com bubble as tech stocks were boosted by deals, while the S&P 500 and Dow indexes hit records after economic data pointed to a slowly accelerating economy.
After oscillating around it for much of the day, the Nasdaq composite index gained steam in the late afternoon to finish firmly above the milestone it last reached on March 27 2000, marking only the third time the index closed above 5,000. Continuación...