U.S. stocks opened modestly higher on Tuesday ahead of an expected lift in a measure of U.S. consumer confidence, indicating the economic recovery remained on track to sustain the year-end rally.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 18.54 points, or 0.16 percent, at 11,573.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 1.56 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,259.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 4.63 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,671.90.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)