US STOCKS-Wall St rises on Greece optimism, Nasdaq ends at record
* Greece deal optimism lifts sentiment, Nasdaq hits new record
* Energy, healthcare stocks rise on M&A chatter
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct (Updates to market close)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended higher on Monday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record as hopes grew that a deal would be reached to prevent Greece from defaulting on loans.
Equities have been largely driven by the situation in Greece of late, with investors concerned that if the country defaults on its loans, it may have to leave the euro or the European Union, potentially shaking the region's economic foundations.
Athens presented new reform proposals which were cautiously welcomed by euro zone finance on Monday, though the Eurogroup said the proposals required detailed study and that it would take several days to determine whether they can lead to an agreement. Greece needs fresh funds to avoid defaulting on a $1.8 billion debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on June 30.
"This takes one anxiety off the table, even if it doesn't yet resolve the primary issues that made investors anxious in the first place," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, Ohio.
Sentiment was also lifted by merger and acquisition activity. The S&P energy index rose 1 percent as the top-performing sector of the day after Energy Transfer Equity LP confirmed it had made a $48 billion unsolicited bid for Williams Companies Inc, hours after Williams rejected the offer as significantly too low. Continuación...