Dow Rises Over 150 Points; Banks Gain

Sell in May and go away?

Not today.

Stocks advanced on this first day of May after some positive economic reports and details of a European financial rescue package for Greece provided some measure of relief.

The Dow rose more than 150 points, or almost 1.5 percent, led by Disney , Boeing and Cisco .

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also advanced. The CBOE volatility index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell almost 10 percent to below 20.

"It's a little early to make the 'sell in May and go away' call," said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments. While Gayle thinks the market has the potential to rally further, he said the risk of earnings disappointment may increase over the next few quarters.

"We’ve had a substantial rally and we believe that the market is going to be more selective as the focus turns to revenue growth over merely earnings growth and the risk of a disappointment has increased," he added.

The Institute for Supply Management reported its manufacturing index rose to 60.4 in April from 59.6 in March, its fastest pace in nearly six years.

Industrials were among the day's best peformers, butstocks such as Alcoa and ExxonMobilskidded as the dollar gained following the ISM report.

Consumer-discretionary stocks were also a leader today, along with financials, which got a boost after Warren Buffett defended Goldman Sachs over the weekend, saying the bank's behavior does not warrant public fury.

Goldman shares rebounded today, after sliding nearly 10 percent last week, leading an aggressive market selloff on Friday.

JPMorgan up more than 2 percent while Bank of America and Citigroup were each up more than 1 percent.

Buffett also presented an upbeat outlook for the U.S. economy, among a number of other comments.

Among the morning's other indicators: Construction spending rose 0.2 percent in March, less than expected, while consumer spending rose for a sixth straight monthin March and household savings fell to a 1-1/2-year low.

Oil prices edged above$86 a barrel, gaining for a fourth session, supported by positive economic reports and concerns about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The dollar roseagainst the euro and yen, boosted by doubts about Greece's ability to honor a pledge for drastic new wage cuts in return for an emergency aid package and gold prices climbed to a 2010 high of $1,187 an ounce.

Shares of gold companies such as Barrrick Gold , AngloGold and NewmontMining fell.

European countries agreed to an aid packageworth 110 billion-euro ($146.5 billion) for Greece, the biggest-ever bailout of a country. The ECB said it would accept all bonds— even junk-status — as security for loans.

Ford shares rose after the auto maker posted a 25 percent increasein its April U.S. sales.

Rival Chrysler's sales also rose 25 percent from a year earlier and General Motors posted a gain, helped by strong demand for newly launched vehicles such as the Chevy Equinox crossover and the Buick LaCrosse sedan.

Other auto makers such as Toyota ,Honda and Nissan are also expected to report today.

Apple got a boost following news that the company sold 1 million iPads in less than a month.

Semiconductor shares such as Texas Instruments, Sandisk and Qualcomm saw a pop afterreports that worldwide semiconductor sales in March rose 4.6 percent from February to $23.1 billion, driven by strong demand in the computing and communications markets, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

United Airlines Parent UAL and Continental Airlines have made their merger officialin a $3 billion stock-swap deal.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill continued to spread, with cleanup costs likely to exceed $14 billion. Energy giant BP, the majority owner of the well that is the source of the leak, will be on the hook for as much as $7 billion, analysts say.

BP shares fell more than 8 percent, after sliding more than 12 percent last week.

Johnson & Johnson shares rose despite the firm's consumer division announcing a broad recall of products late last Friday, including certain liquid infant's and children's Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl products.

The Wall Street Journal reports that General Growth Properties is favoring the bankruptcy recovery plan put forth by Brookfield Asset Management rather than a competing offer from Simon Property Group.

Tuesday morning's notable reports include Merck, Pfizer, CVS and MasterCard.

This Week:

MONDAY: Auto sales
TUESDAY: Pending-home sales; factory orders; earnings from Merck, Pfizer, CVS and MasterCard
WEDNESDAY: BOE monetary-policy meeting; weekly mortgage apps; ADP, Challenger job reports; Fed's Rosengren speaks; ISM services index; weekly crude inventories; earnings from Anheuser-Busch, Qwest, Time Warner, Garmin, CBS and Symantec
THURSDAY: Chain-store sales; ECB announcement; weekly jobless claims; productivity; Bernanke speaks; earnings from Activision, Kraft
FRIDAY: Goldman Sachs shareholders meeting; April jobs report; Fed's Plosser speaks; consumer credit; earnings from Liberty Media

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