U.S. stocks climbed on Tuesday, with equities bouncing back after two days of losses, as investors embraced data that had consumer confidence hitting a six-year high in March.
"The markets are keying on the consumer confidence number, which surprised on the upside. The U.S. economy is dependent on consumers," said Chris Gaffney, EverBank senior market strategist.
The Conference Board rose to 82.3 in March, up from 78.3 the month before; another report from the Commerce Department had new-home sales slipping 3.3 percent in February. And, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities climbed 13.2 percent from January 2013.
"The February housing numbers have to have some weather-related in them still, so that excuse is still there," said Gaffney.
After a 130-point climb, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 91.19 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,367.88, with International Business Machines and Cisco Systems leading blue-chip gains that included 21 of its 30 components.
The added 8.18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,865.62, with industrials the best performing and consumer discretionary the worst among its 10 major industry groups.
McCormick & Company rallied after reporting first-quarter results and said unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates would cut its 2014 sales by 1 percent. Walgreen jumped after the pharmacy chain said it would shutter 76 stores. Shares of Carnival slid after the cruise operator warned it could record a loss in its current quarter.
After wavering on either side of neutral, the Nasdaq gained 7.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,234.27.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a measure of investor uncertainty, fell 5.3 percent to 14.29.
"The bond markets are more interested in inflation expectations right now, where equity markets are talking about rate cycles. That's why we haven't seen a big move in the 10-year rates. Even with the size of the U.S. balance sheet and the expansion we've seen there, inflation pressures remain at bay," said Gaffney.
For every two shares sliding, roughly three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 645 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 3.2 billion.