NEW YORK – The Dow Jones industrial average notched a three-day win streak Monday for the first time in six weeks. A $19 billion corporate buying spree and encouraging economic news from Japan sent the Dow up 213 points and erased its losses from last week.

The return of what’s called “Merger Monday” on Wall Street made investors more optimistic about the future. So did a report that Japan’s economy shrank less than feared after the earthquake and tsunami there on March 11. That helped ease worries that the U.S. economy may slide into another recession.

The Dow rose 213.88 points, or 1.9 percent, to 11,482.90. It has gained 763 points since Thursday.

That’s the best three-day point gain since it rose 927 in November 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis. The Dow is also up 7.1 percent over the three days, the biggest percentage gain since it rose 9.5 percent the first three days of the bull market in March 2009.

Despite its three-day gain, the Dow remains down 10.4 percent since its 2011 high set on April 29.

More swings could come this week. Leaders of France and Germany meet today to discuss Europe’s debt problems. Spain and other countries have borrowed so much that they may need help to repay their bills.

Corporate deals dominated the news, as companies followed a years-long practice of announcing acquisitions on a Monday. The biggest was Google Inc.’s $12.5 billion cash purchase of wireless phone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.

Among other deals: Time Warner Cable Inc. said it will pay $3 billion in cash for Insight Communications Co., and agribusiness conglomerate Cargill said it will buy animal nutrition company Provimi of the Netherlands for $2.16 billion.