* Fed’s Dudley keeps June rate hike on the table depending on data
* Mylan jumps after offering to buy Perrigo for about $29 bln
* Fed minutes due at 1800 GMT
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.77 pct (Adds details on Mylan deal, comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday on merger activity in the healthcare sector even as energy stocks sold off after a large buildup in crude stockpiles sent oil futures reeling.
Traders are keeping an eye out for the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s March policy meeting, in which the Fed downgraded its economic growth and inflation projections while leaving the door open to raising rates in the near future. The minutes are due at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
Mylan shares jumped 14.4 percent to $68.15, boosting the Nasdaq and the S&P healthcare sector, on news it offered to buy Perrigo for about $29 billion in cash and stock. Perrigo shares jumped 21.7 percent to $200.50.
Biotech and pharmaceuticals have seen more than $60 billion in deals so far this year, the highest volume since 2009.
Brent crude slid 4.5 percent and U.S. crude lost 5.6 percent after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed the largest weekly build in oil inventories since March 2001.
“Expect to see a lot more consolidation in the energy sector,” said Brian Amidei, managing director and partner at HighTower Advisors in California, referring to the state of smaller players after the sharp decline in oil prices in the past year.
Energy stocks, which had been supported by Royal Dutch Shell’s $70 billion bid for rival BG Group, fell sharply after the EIA data.
At 12:49 p.m. EDT (1649 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average rose 38.67 points, or 0.22 percent, to 17,914.09, the S&P 500 gained 5.93 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,082.26, and the Nasdaq Composite added 37.49 points, or 0.76 percent, to 4,947.72.
New York Fed President William Dudley said a June rate hike remains on the table, reiterating the Fed mantra that any tightening is data dependent.
As the reporting season gains momentum, first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are projected to show a decline of 2.8 percent from a year earlier, which would be the worst comparatives since the third quarter of 2009.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,762 to 1,176, for a 1.50-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,680 issues rose and 946 fell, for a 1.78-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 60 new highs and 21 new lows. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Ted Botha)