Dow Adds 143 Points on Encouraging Data

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks finished Monday's session with strong gains, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned in a triple-digit bounce, as some upbeat economic figures, including April manufacturing data that exceeded economists' expectations, helped lift buying temperament among traders.

The Dow closed 143 points higher, or 1.3%, to 11,152. The S&P 500 gained 16 points, or 1.3%, to 1202 and the Nasdaq went ahead by 38 points, or 1.5%, to 2499.

On Sunday, Greece secured a 110 billion euro ($147 billion) rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for agreeing to stark austerity measures.

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With earnings season winding down, Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies, said investors were thinking more and more about improving economic data this week, with added certainty about Greece helping matters. He is also keeping a watchful eye on the Labor Department's latest April jobs report due at the end of the week.

"As you look at what we were concerned about Friday, part of that was Greece, and the weekend brought some relief there," Hogan said. "The economic data is certainly supportive today, and they might be a sneak preview of the payroll data on Friday. Employment in the manufacturing data was a little stronger than usual, and may bode well for a better-than-expected nonfarm payroll number."

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.4% while Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday. The FTSE in London was closed for a holiday, and the DAX in Frankfurt was up by 0.5%.

Continental Airlines ( CAL) and UAL's ( UAUA) United Airlines said they reached a definitive agreement to merge, creating the world's largest airline. Their stocks gained 2.3% and 2.4%, respectively.

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