U.S. stocks rose last week, putting the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index on pace for the biggest monthly gain since 1974, after European leaders agreed to expand the region’s bailout fund and U.S. growth accelerated.

Bank of America, Alcoa and Caterpillar jumped at least 10 percent for the week to lead Dow Jones industrial average gains. Raw-material and financial shares led an advance by all 10 industries in the S&P 500, adding more than 6.9 percent.

The S&P 500 climbed 3.8 percent to 1,285.09, the highest level since Aug. 1. It has risen four straight weeks, the longest since January, and advanced 14 percent in October. The Dow rose 422.32 points, or 3.6 percent, to 12,231.11 last week.

“The crisis atmosphere has lessened,” said Nick Sargen, of Fort Washington Investment Advisors, which oversees $38 billion. “European policymakers have bought more time,” he said. “It’s not a permanent solution, but it limits the immediate risk to the market.”

Stocks gained after the European rescue fund was boosted to $1.4 trillion and investors agreed to a voluntary write-down of 50 percent on Greek debt. The S&P 500 had fallen for five straight months, driven by concern the debt crisis would curb global growth, before starting to rebound on Oct. 3. The stock index recovered as better-than-estimated U.S. reports drove the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index above zero for the first time since April.

The Treasury will sell $29 billion in three-month bills and $27 billion in six-month bills on Monday. They yielded 0.015 percent and 0.061 percent in when-issued trading.

— Bloomberg News

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