U.S. stocks 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.

Big manufacturers, including Boeing Co , Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co 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 , parent of United Airlines, said it will buy Continental Airlines Inc 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.

Warren Buffett on Sunday intensified his feisty defense of a controversial mortgage transaction marketed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc , 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 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 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 Coast.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)