Stocks rose at the opening bell on Tuesday as better-than-expected results from retailers Home Depot Inc and Target Corp tempered a surprise drop in housing starts in July.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 45.34 points, or 0.50 percent, to 9,180.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 4.58 points, or 0.47 percent, to 984.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> put on 12.90 points, or 0.67 percent, to 1,943.74.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)