Stocks ended higher on Monday as merger activity and strong earnings from Caterpillar boosted investor sentiment and kept the three-week rally intact.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 105.73 points, or 0.90 percent, at 11,914.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 15.96 points, or 1.29 percent, at 1,254.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 61.53 points, or 2.33 percent, at 2,698.99.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)