US STOCKS-Wall St ends higher, led by tech, Microsoft
* Wall Street coming off worst week of 2013
* Halliburton and Caterpillar rise after comments, results
* Tech shares among day's strongest
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.5 pct, Nasdaq up 0.9 pct
NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Monday as last week's sharp losses brought buyers back to the market and shares of Microsoft jumped after an activist investor took a stake in the company.
Helping the Dow, shares of Caterpillar rose 2.8 percent to $82.71, as the company said the pullback in spending by miners was temporary. The stock gains came despite a lowered 2013 outlook from the company.
The market's bounce followed the S&P 500's worst weekly loss since November and suggested to some market watchers that a much debated market correction has yet to arrive.
"It still seems like the bulls are buying the dips. Unless there is a fair amount of bad news, I think the market hangs in at these levels," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York, who added he still expects the market to be "signficiantly lower" in six months.
Lifting both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, Microsoft Corp jumped 3.6 percent to $30.83 after CNBC reported that ValueAct Capital had taken a $2 billion stake in the company.
Google shares, which fell as much as 3.1 percent within the first 10 minutes of trading, ended up 0.03 percent at $800.11 in Monday's session. On Friday, Google shares had gained 4.4 percent a day after the company had posted upbeat results.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.66 points, or 0.14 percent, to 14,567.17 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 7.25 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,562.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 27.50 points, or 0.86 percent, to close at 3,233.55.
Last week's decline came on signs of slowing growth from China, which led to a steep drop in commodity prices.
"A decent tech tape is lifting all boats today. I think they're flocking towards the ones you've already seen good numbers from. You're not going to get blindsided by something coming out, if you've already got the news," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
Among other gainers, shares of Halliburton, the oil field services company, rose 5.6 percent to $39.29 after the company posted quarterly results and said it is in talks to settle private claims against it in a trial.
Volume was roughly 5.6 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the average daily closing volume of about 6.4 billion this year.
That's a decline from most of last week, when the volume was higher than normal, averaging 7.3 billion for the five sessions.
Advancers outpaced decliners by about 17 to 12 on the NYSE and by about 13 to 12 on the Nasdaq.