Wall Street bounced in light volume on Tuesday, a day after the S&P 500 fell to its lowest in over two months, with some describing the S&P's losses in the past five weeks as overdone.
The S&P 500 has fallen 4.9 percent since a recent high at the start of May. On Monday, the benchmark index closed at its lowest level since March 18.
Tuesday's move is just an uptick off some oversold levels, said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.
Friday set us up with a low close. We had a cascading, selling kind of situation that got, in my opinion, a little bit overdone in the very short term.
Recently battered energy shares bounced back despite a drop in U.S. crude prices, though Brent crude rose, helped in part by a weaker U.S. dollar. Healthcare and utility stocks also ranked among the leaders.
Some investors are seeing an opportunity after weeks of soft economic data failed to create a panic in the U.S. stock market. Expectation of strong earnings reports in July could bring in buyers who want to get ahead of the expected move up next month.
We are doing as typical a market move as you could possibly imagine, Pado said.
We have no base at this point so we need to bounce and construct a base, then you can make the case for the next bull leg to start.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 63.72 points, or 0.53 percent, to 12,153.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 6.87 points, or 0.53 percent, to 1,293.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 8.87 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,711.43.
Bank stocks, heavily sold in recent weeks, were among the biggest gainers. JPMorgan Chase & Co
But not all market participants were ready to call the end of the downturn. Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey, said light volume and lack of buyers could mean any bounce is short-lived.
The problem for institutions on a day like today is the volume being light. Any concerted effort to raise funds (sell positions) could have a disproportionate impact on pricing as buyers will be on the thin side, he wrote in a note to clients.
In company news, International Paper Co
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak on the U.S. economic outlook at a banking conference in Atlanta.
Fed officials have said recent data was a disappointment, with Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed, suggesting it could delay the Fed's exit from its extremely easy monetary policy. Bernanke is set to start speaking shortly before the market closes.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Additional reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jan Paschal)