U.S. stocks rose on Monday, set to snap a three-session sell-off that wiped out index gains for the year, as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke edged closer to winning support for a second term.

Indexes briefly cut their gains after data showed that existing home sales fell at the fastest pace on record in December, a bearish sign for the crucial housing market.

Existing home sales fell 16.7 percent in December, following a gain of 7.4 percent in November. Analysts had expected home sales to fall 10 percent. For details, see

This number underscores how the housing recovery is slow and bloody, and how slow total recovery may be, said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist of Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.

On Sunday, the U.S. Senate Republican leader predicted Bernanke will be confirmed for a second term, removing an market overhang that contributed to the worst three-day slide in equities in 10 months.

That Washingtonians think Bernanke will be reconfirmed removes a big source of uncertainty for investors, said Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer of Advisors Capital Management in Paramus, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 67.04 points, or 0.66 percent, to 10,238.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.82 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,099.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 14.89 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,220.38.

Tech bellwethers Apple Inc and Texas Instruments are scheduled to report earnings after the closing bell.

Halliburton Co fell 3.2 percent to $30.16 after it reported a steep decline in its fourth-quarter earnings on weaker drilling activity and lower prices. Eaton Corp gained 1 percent to $66.56 after it posted a higher-than-expected profit and forecast a rebound in profits this year.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

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