The Dow and S&P 500 closed at their highest levels since June 2008 on Tuesday and looked poised for more gains after strong earnings and signs of a surge in U.S. manufacturing.

Data showing improved factory activity and strong results from shipping company UPS Inc, seen as a gauge for economic activity, bolstered the growing impression among investors that a recovery was broadening.

The rising sentiment drew in additional buyers on a well-traded day as fears that Egypt's turmoil could spread elsewhere lessened.

Volume was above last's years daily average with 8.71 billion shares traded on the NYSE, Amex, and Nasdaq amid reports of some large scale buying from institutional investors.

The Dow closed above the psychologically important 12,000 level for the first time since June 2008.

Scott Marcouiller, chief technical market strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, said the biggest pullback in six months on Friday had lured investors. There was an opportunity for that money that had missed out to jump in, he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 148.23 points, or 1.25 percent, to 12,040.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 21.45 points, or 1.67 percent, to 1,307.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 51.11 points, or 1.89 percent, to 2,751.19.

The S&P 500 closed above 1,300 for the first time since August 2008.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy, Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch, Editing by Kenneth Barry)