US STOCKS-Wall St gains on deal activity, energy shares rally
* Alcoa to buy RTI International for $1.5 bln
* Crude oil, lifting energy names
* GM shares rally; plans massive buyback
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq flat (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mostly higher on Monday, boosted by a couple of billion-dollar deals, while an increase in the price of crude oil supported energy names.
The gain comes one session after the S&P 500's biggest drop in almost two months, as well as two straight weeks of declines for major indexes.
The S&P 500 is about 2 percent below its record closing high, as is the Dow. The Nasdaq is 2.4 percent below its record close hit in March 2000.
"We're positive on the stock market here, and the recent setback last week just provides better opportunity to buy," said Tom Mangan, senior vice president at James Investment Research Inc in Xenia, Ohio. Continuación...