Stocks jumped on Tuesday as an unexpected surge in February housing starts gave investors a rare bit of good economic news, and an upbeat broker comment on bellwether Cisco Systems drove technology shares sharply higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 94.70 points, or 1.31 percent, to 7,311.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 14.02 points, or 1.86 percent, to 767.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 31.82 points, or 2.27 percent, to 1,435.84.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Jan Paschal)