U.S. stocks advanced on Monday as anticipation of solid first-quarter corporate earnings buoyed sentiment along with an announcement of an emergency aid plan for Greece.

Investors were anxious, however, waiting to see if corporate results would be enough to move stocks higher, given Wall Street's recent strong run.

The S&P 500, which is up 7 percent since the start of the year, rose to within one point of the 1,200 level, seen as an area of technical resistance. The Dow, meanwhile, traded above 11,000 after briefly topping that level on Friday for the first time since September 2008.

Aluminum company Alcoa Inc gained 1.9 percent to $14.68. The Dow component kicks off the first-quarter reporting period with results after the bell. Analysts expect the company to post a first-quarter profit of 10 cents per share, reversing its loss in the same period last year of 59 cents a share.

More than anything we're moving ahead of the earnings reports, said Tim Smalls, head of U.S. stock trading at brokerage firm Execution LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. We've seen this before. Then it will be the 'buy on rumor, sell on news' (trade).

Helping to relieve worries about sovereign debt that could have repercussions through other parts of the continent, euro zone ministers signed off on a 30 billion euro ($40 billion) rescue package for Greece on Sunday. But they stressed that Athens had not yet asked that the plan to be activated.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 19.73 points, or 0.18 percent, at 11,017.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.77 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,197.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 4.32 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,458.37.

Other companies expected to report this week are Intel Corp , Google Inc , General Electric Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co .

Google's shares were up 1.0 percent at $572.11, and Intel shares gained 0.5 percent to $22.66. GE shares rose 1.5 percent to $18.79, and shares of JPMorgan were up 0.6 percent at $46.25.

Power producer Mirant Corp agreed to take over rival RRI Energy Inc , while Palm Inc
, the smartphone maker, is reportedly looking to sell itself.

Mirant shares shot up 19.3 percent to $12.80, and RRI Energy gained 13.9 percent to $4.50. Palm shares jumped 17.4 percent to $6.06.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc was up 2.6 percent at $66.94 after a brokerage upgraded the stock.

First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 36.8 percent from a year ago, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)