US STOCKS-Markets advance on Caterpillar results, M&A

* Caterpillar shares jump after Q1 results, outlook

* Dollar Thrifty surges on Hertz deal

* Greek minister: Aid will come in time to avoid default

* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to after the open)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 26 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Monday
on strong results from Caterpillar and a flurry of
merger-and-acquisition activity, though weakness in financial
shares limited gains.

Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: ), the heavy machinery maker, also
raised its full-year profit forecast after reporting results,
saying “economic conditions are definitely improving.” The
stock gained 5.7 percent to $72.64 and was the top boost on the
Dow. For details, see [ID:nN26212283]

Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N: ) surged 12.8 percent to $115.22 after
earnings beat estimates and it raised its full-year profit
view, a bullish sign for consumer spending. [ID:nN26177645]

Financials fought a headwind, with Citigroup Inc (C.N: ) down
4.3 percent to $4.64 after the U.S. Treasury said it would
begin selling its huge stake in the bank. The government
acquired 27 percent of the bank after $45 billion in bailouts.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: ) fell 1.2 percent to $44.43.
[ID:nN26181205]

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 34.53
points, or 0.31 percent, at 11,238.81. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 1.94 points, or 0.16 percent, at
1,219.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 4.95 points,
or 0.20 percent, at 2,535.10.

“Caterpillar and Whirlpool were both very strong and
suggest a continuation of the recovery, but the issue with
Citigroup and continued questions about financial regulation
remain a concern,” said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at
Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia.

A sweeping overhaul of financial regulations was slated for
a crucial Senate test vote Monday. A Republican leader said all
41 Republican senators would likely vote against launching
floor debate and try instead to negotiate changes.

Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N: ) agreed to buy Dollar
Thrifty Automotive Group Inc (DTG.N: ) for about $1.2 billion,
while Charles River Laboratories International (CRL.N: ), the
U.S. clinical research company, plans to acquire WuXi
PharmaTech Inc (WX.N: ) for $1.6 billion. [ID:nSGE63P03V] and
[ID:nSGE63P04G]

Stifel Financial Corp (SF.N: ) will acquire rival Thomas
Weisel Partners Group Inc (TWPG.O: ) for about $300 million in
stock. [ID:nSGE63P0M3]

Dollar Thrifty gained 9 percent to $42.30, while WuXi
surged 20 percent to $19.87, and Thomas Weisel soared 66
percent to $7.25.

Greece remained in focus a day after a Greek official said
an aid package would help avert a sovereign debt default,
though signs grew the package may have to be bigger. The
situation in Greece has weighed on equities in recent weeks.
For details, see [ID:nTOPNOW2]

The Bank of New York Mellon index of leading Greek ADRs

Investment Advice

(.BKGR: ) fell 3 percent.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Markets advance on Caterpillar results, M&A