U.S. stocks soared on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended up 337 points, or 2.9 percent, to close at 12,103. The S&P 500 Index rose 36 points, or 3 percent, to 1,241, while the NASDAQ rose 80 points, or 3.2 percent, to 2,604.
The U.S. markets were up as concerns over the European debt crisis subsided amid a report that the American housing market was strengthening a bit.
Among the movers on Tuesday's broadly advancing markets were Bank of America (BAC), up 4% to $5.19 a share, Other banks including Subgroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) advanced as well.
Caterpillar rose 5%, notching the biggest gain of the 30 Dow stocks.
Seven stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, in light trading volume at 3.8 billion.
It was the first time in almost two weeks the Dow has closed above 12,000, and it was the best day for U.S. stocks in a month.
Headlines out of Europe regarding solutions for the debt crisis combined with a positive consumer confidence report from Germany to push the market higher. Also, the U.S. Commerce Department said ground was borken on 685,000 new homes last month, a 9.3% jump from October. That was the highest level since April 2010.
Building permits increased 5.7% as well, a sign of future construction activity. Apartments were believed to be the reason for the spike.
Among the most active stocks beyond the banks, Spring Nextel Corp. was up 9.26 percent, or 20 cents per share, to $2.36, and General Electric Co. (GE) rose 2.49 percent, or 42 cents, to $17.28. On the NASDAQ, Intel Corp. rose 4.04 percent, or 72 cents a share, to $23.84, and Microsoft Corp. rose 1.94 percent, or 50 cents, to $26.03.
Investors should remain cautious of the big rally, however, according to one analyst.
If you're selling into rallies, it means people want out, said Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial's market strategist, according to The Associated Press. They don't believe it's sustainable.