and I think Bank of America broke out of some long-standing price levels, and it got everything going in that sector," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Shares of Citigroup were up 4.1 percent at $39.15 while shares of Discover Financial were up 1.6 percent at $40.18.
Clearwire Corp agreed to sell the rest of the company to Sprint Nextel Corp for a slightly sweetened $2.2 billion offer just days after minority shareholders criticized the previous bid as too low. Clearwire tumbled 13.6 percent to $2.91, while Sprint was up 0.2 percent to $5.56.
Apple Inc shares edged up after recent losses, rising 1.8 percent to $518.83 even though two firms cut their price targets on the stock Monday.
The tech giant said it sold more than 2 million of its new iPhone 5 smartphones in China during the three days after its launch there on Friday, but the figures did not ease worries about stiffer competition. Apple shares have tumbled more than 25 percent in about three months.
Compuware Corp rose 12.9 percent to $10.76 after hedge fund Elliott Management offered to buy the business software maker for $2.3 billion and S&P Capital IQ raised the target price and moved it to "hold" from "strong sell."
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by about 2 to 1, and on the Nasdaq by nearly 9 to 4.