Stocks rose modestly on Tuesday as U.S. consumer confidence data and a sharp drop in oil futures prices relieved worries about lackluster spending.
Stocks' advance was limited by disappointing data on durable goods orders, as well as views the market was losing steam after hitting recent highs. The S&P 500 was on track to close at a four-year high again.
The S&P 500 is up about 9 percent since the start of the year, largely because of data showing stronger momentum in the economy and signs of progress in managing the euro zone's debt crisis, including a debt deal for Greece.
Consumer confidence in the world's largest economy jumped to a one-year high in February, according to a report from The Conference Board, a private business research group. This indicator is noted because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The drop in oil prices from recent highs also relieved worries about the outlook for consumer spending.
A government report showed orders for U.S. durable goods in January had the biggest fall in three years, which curbed some of the optimism about the pace of the domestic recovery. Durable goods, which are generally meant to last three years or longer, range from big-ticket items like aircraft down to consumer goods like refrigerators and even toasters.
Generally the sets of economic data coming out have been supportive of an economy moving forward, said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.
Technology shares, however, ranked among the best performers, and the Nasdaq was trading at its highest since 2000. Micron Technology Inc
Intel advanced 1.1 percent to $27.19. The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOX> rose 1.4 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 30.42 points, or 0.23 percent, at 13,011.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 3.79 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,371.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 17.26 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,983.42.
The S&P 500 popped back up above 1,370, a key technical level seen by some analysts as a pivotal point. A close above 1,370 could invite momentum buying as money managers chase performance, but lighter-than-average recent volume suggests the market may be vulnerable to a pullback, analysts said.
Brent crude oil futures fell more than $2 to settle at $121.55 a barrel.
(Reporting By Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)