U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Monday as successful acquisitions by U.S companies and anticipation of solid first-quarter corporate earnings buoyed sentiment.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 3.89 points, or 0.29 percent, to trade at 1,332.06 at 10:50 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 52.00 points, or 0.42 percent, to trade at 12,432.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.08 percent.

The earnings season is set to kick off with U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa slated to report quarterly earnings after the market closes on Monday. Analysts are expecting a first quarter profit of $0.27 per share from $0.10 per share a year ago. Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) gained 0.84 percent to $18.07.

Global Crossing Ltd. (NASDAQ:GLBC) climbed 58.31 percent and Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:LVLT) advanced 11.46 percent after Level 3 Communications agreed to buy Global Crossing for $23.04 per Global Crossing common or preferred share, or about $3.0 billion, including the assumption of about $1.1 billion of net debt as of Dec. 31, 2010.

Tasty Baking Co. (NASDAQ:TSTY) stock jumped 145.96 percent to $3.96 in early trade, as Flowers Foods agreed to begin a tender offer to buy all of the outstanding shares of Tasty common stock for $4.00 a share in cash or a total purchase price of around $165 million, including Tasty's existing indebtedness.

Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC) shares gained 3.97 percent to $49.38 on news that Schneider Electric SA is weighing a takeover offer for Tyco International.

Meanwhile, exactly a month after the magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a massive tsunami, hit the eastern coast of Japan, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake again shook its northeastern region Monday afternoon. The fresh earthquake was felt in Tokyo and nuclear workers at the Fukushima plant were temporarily evacuated.

The euro declined 0.29 percent to 1.4441 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.02 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.85 percent to $111.83/barrel and gold futures fell 0.40 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 4.55 points and DAX30 down by 12.60 points, while CAC 40 down by 17.30 points.