Most regional stocks rebounded Tuesday after starting the week on a downer.
The regional movers were led by Cerner, up 2 percent, H&R Block, up 1.4 percent and Kansas City Life, up 2.6 percent.
There were a few regional shares that continued to slide, including YRC, down 2.8 percent and Waddell & Reed, down 2.6 percent.
Overall, a jump in home sales and strong earnings from Home Depot helped the Dow claw back more than half of its losses from Monday. Improving consumer confidence also brought back buyers to the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 115.96 points, or 0.8 percent, to 13,900.13. The Dow fell 216 points the day before, its biggest drop in three months, on concern that the European debt crisis may flare up again. The index has moved 100 points or more on four out of the past five trading days.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9.09 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,496.94. The Nasdaq composite was up 13.40 points, or 0.4 percent, at 3,129.65.
Home Depot, the biggest home improvement store chain in the country, jumped $3.64, or 5.7 percent, to $67.56 after reporting that its income rose 32 percent in the latest quarter thanks to strong U.S. sales and the cleanup that followed Superstorm Sandy. That made it the biggest gainer in the Dow, accounting for about 28 points, or about a quarter, of its advance.
Strong earnings from home improvement companies, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, which reported earnings Monday that beat Wall Street forecasts, compounded evidence that the U.S. housing market is maintaining its recovery, Mussio said. Also Tuesday, the government reported that sales of new homes jumped 16 percent last month to the highest level since July 2008.
Also Tuesday, a measure of consumer confidence rose sharply, reversing three months of declines, as shoppers began adjusting to a payroll tax hike last month.
Investors closely watched testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Fed chairman said that the automatic government spending cuts due to take effect Friday would put a drag on the economy. He urged lawmakers and the White House to replace the cuts with longer-term policies to reduce the budget deficit.
Investors shouldn’t be dissuaded from buying stocks by any flare-up in Europe’s economic troubles, says Hans Olsen, a strategist at Barclays. The strategist says stocks should have a good year thanks to earnings growth and a pickup in corporate dealmaking.
The BATS 1000 rose 100.61 points, or 0.60 percent, to close at 16,898.54.
Capitol Federal Financial rose 5 cents, or 0.42%, to close at $11.83.
Cerner Corp. rose $1.80, or 2.11%, to close at $87.18.
Commerce Bancshares Inc. fell 3 cents, or 0.08%, to close at $37.44.
Compass Minerals fell $1.34, or 1.79%, to close at $73.56.
DST Systems Inc. rose 38 cents, or 0.56%, to close at $67.65.
Ferrellgas Partners L.P. fell 1 cents, or 0.05%, to close at $20.06.
Garmin Ltd. rose 11 cents, or 0.32%, to close at $34.31.
Great Plains Energy rose 8 cents, or 0.37%, to close at $21.63.
H&R Block Inc. rose 34 cents, or 1.40%, to close at $24.61.
Inergy L.P. rose 38 cents, or 1.96%, to close at $19.78.
Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 93 cents, or 2.56%, to close at $37.28.
Kansas City Southern rose $1.30, or 1.35%, to close at $97.84.
Layne Christensen Co. fell 32 cents, or 1.46%, to close at $21.60.
O’Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 41 cents, or 0.40%, to close at $101.76.
Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 5 cents, or 0.87%, to close at $5.78.
UMB Financial Corp. rose 31 cents, or 0.68%, to close at $45.58.
Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. fell $1.05, or 2.56%, to close at $40.04.
YRC Worldwide Inc. fell 18 cents, or 2.81%, to close at $6.22.