US STOCKS-Wall St gains as data confirm economic growth

* Manufacturing growth, construction spending advance

* UAL to acquire Continental, form world’s largest airline

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates with ISM, construction spending data)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, May 3 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Monday as
the latest manufacturing data suggested the economy was on
firmer footing, and details of a European financial rescue
package for Greece provided relief.

The U.S. manufacturing sector grew in April at its fastest
pace in almost six years and at a rate that was above
expectations, an industry report showed. A separate government
report showed construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly
rose in March to post the first advance since October. For
details, see [ID:nN03189741] [ID:nN30128894]

Big manufacturers, including Boeing Co (BA.N: ), Caterpillar
Inc (CAT.N: ) and 3M Co (MMM.N: ) added helped drive gains for the
Dow index after the data was released.

“All these numbers are good and continue to point to the
economy doing very, very well. The question is how much of that
is already discounted at this point with the market already up
what it’s up so far this year,” said Stephen Massocca, managing
director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 56.38
points, or 0.51 percent, at 11,064.99. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 4.54 points, or 0.38 percent, at
1,191.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 14.96
points, or 0.61 percent, at 2,476.15.

UAL Corp (UAUA.O: ), parent of United Airlines, said it will
buy Continental Airlines Inc (CAL.N: ) for $3.2 billion in stock,
a union that would form the world’s largest airline.

UAL Corp shares rose 2.5 percent to $22.15, and Continental
Airlines rose 1.7 percent to $22.74.

Over the weekend, European countries agreed to a 110
billion-euro ($146.5 billion) aid package for debt-laden
Greece, the biggest ever financial bailout of a country. While
some regarded the deal as positive, others were concerned about
Greece implementing the tough austerity measures it has
promised in exchange. [ID:nSGE64208W] [ID:nLDE6420OJ]

Warren Buffett on Sunday intensified his feisty defense of
a controversial mortgage transaction marketed by Goldman Sachs
Group Inc (GS.N: ), saying the investment bank’s behavior does
not warrant public fury. [ID:nN02162966] Goldman Sachs shares
rose 1.8 percent to $147.87.

The market will keep a close eye on car sales for April
throughout the day. Ford Motor Co (F.N: ) shares were up 3.2
percent at $13.43 ahead of its April sales report expected to
show a double-digit increase over the same period a year ago.

U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc (BP.L: ) (BP.N: ) fell 9 percent
to $47.42. The energy giant’s reputation is battered by a
catastrophic oil spill threatening the shores of the U.S. Gulf


(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Wall St gains as data confirm economic growth