Technology shares led Wall street higher on Tuesday after upbeat brokerage comments on Apple Inc, but a report showing an unexpected fall in existing-home sales last month tempered gains.

Apple also said it sold 3 million iPad tablet computers in 80 days, sending its shares 1.6 percent higher to $274.43 and giving the biggest boost to the Nasdaq 100 index.

Deutsche Bank raised its price target for Apple while Barclays Capital said a new carrier for Apple's iPhone would extend and accelerate the iPhone 4 cycle. The iPhone 4 is expected to debut this week.

The tech sector is probably going to be a source of some pretty strong corporate growth when earnings start coming, said Peter Tuz, president at Chase Investment Counsel of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 17.68 points, or 0.17 percent, to 10,460.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> edged up 1.28 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,114.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 15.54 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,304.63.

The S&P 500 found support at its 200-day moving average, a key technical level it breached last week.

The data from the National Association of Realtors showing sales of previously owned home fell in May when analysts had expected an increase knocked shares of homebuilders and home-improvement retailers lower.

Homebuilder PulteGroup Inc fell 2.6 percent to $8.91 and Home Depot Inc , the leading U.S. home-improvement chain, fell 1.3 percent to $31. The Morgan Stanley housing index <.HGX> dropped 0.9 percent.

Among rising shares, Jefferies Group posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its investment banking revenues more than doubled, and its shares jumped 8.3 percent to $24.76.

The KBW capital markets index <.KSX> rose more than 1 percent.

But Shares of Walgreen Co slid 6.1 percent to $28.31 after the drugstore chain reported a weaker-than-expected profit as sales of nonprescription items disappointed.

The Federal Reserve was scheduled to begin a two-day meeting by its rate-setting committee. A statement expected on Wednesday will be scrutinized for the U.S. central bank's views on the economy.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)