Stocks rose in choppy trade on Tuesday as U.S. equity prices at 12-year lows ignited a search for beaten-down shares and the energy sector led the way up as oil rose.

Shares of technology companies, seen as better able to withstand the economic slowdown, also gained. Among the leaders were Apple , which rolled out new Mac desktop computers, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion . Apple jumped 2.4 percent to $90.01, while Research in Motion shot up 5.4 percent to $38.88, both on Nasdaq.

Chevron was among the Dow's major advancers as the price of oil rose $1.50 to settle at $41.65 a barrel on expectations that OPEC will cut production again. Chevron gained 2 percent to $58.75. The S&P energy index <.GSPE> rose 2.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 37.68 points, or 0.56 percent, to 6,800.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 2.80 points, or 0.40 percent, to 703.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 11.66 points, or 0.88 percent, at 1,334.51.

Investors also took in testimony from U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke before separate congressional panels.

Geithner said U.S. President Barack Obama will work with Congress to determine the appropriate size and shape of future financial stability efforts as conditions develop, while Bernanke gave a cautious view of U.S. economic prospects, saying labor market conditions may have become worse recently.

In a volatile session, the S&P 500 earlier hit its lowest intraday level since October 1996.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)