U.S. stocks reached session highs by mid-afternoon Tuesday as a rally in the energy sector led Wall Street.
The S&P 500 was up 0.78%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.95%, and the Nasdaq added 0.51%.
Crude oil prices enjoyed a rebound on Tuesday after trading near six-year lows to begin the week. Prices have been under pressure over supply concerns as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept production at record highs and Iranian oil begins to flood global markets. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.3% to $36.27 a barrel on Tuesday.
The energy sector moved higher after days of selling pressure. Major oilers including Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report , Chevron (CVX) - Get Report , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , BP (BP) - Get Report and ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report moved higher, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report added 1.4%.
Existing home sales fell faster than expected in November as homebuyers faced tighter regulations and less supply. The latest reading showed sales of existing homes fell 10.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million, the slowest pace in 19 months.
Shares traded on the S&P 500 by midday reached 168 million. That's a fraction of the three-month daily average trading volume of nearly 700 million. Wall Street will close at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday and remain closed on Friday.
The third and final estimate of third-quarter economic growth was reduced to 2%, down from a previous estimates of 2.1% growth. Economists factored in a larger trade deficit and greater-than-expected drag in inventories.
SunEdison (SUNE) sank more than 20% on Tuesday after hedge fund Appaloosa Management requested documents from TerraForm Power (TERP) - Get Report , a holding company formed by the solar company. Appaloosa criticised TerraForm's relationship with SunEdison, accusing it of acting in its parent's interest rather than its own.
Chipotle (CMG) - Get Report fell 4% after it was linked to another outbreak of E.Coli. Three new cases have been reported in Oklahoma, one in Kansas, and another in North Dakota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. The agency said it does not know whether the latest outbreak is related to its previous investigation into Chipotle.
Abercrombie& Fitch (ANF) - Get Report jumped more than 5% after promoting head of Hollister brand Fran Horowitz to the new position of merchandising chief. Horowitz previously held top positions at Ann Inc. and Bloomingdale's.
Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report expects to receive a record number of gift card purchases this Christmas Eve. The coffee chain said nearly 2.5 million gift cards were bought in North America over Christmas Eve last year, equal to 1,700 cards a minute.
Paychex (PAYX) - Get Report was slightly higher after edging past earnings estimates in its second quarter. The HR solutions company earned 52 cents a share in its recent quarter, a penny above analysts' expectations.
ConAgra Foods (CAG) - Get Report shares were on watch after the company beat earnings estimates. Adjusted profit of 71 cents a share was up a dime from a year earlier and beat forecasts by 11 cents. Revenue fell 1.4% on a decline in sales volume in its consumer business.
NetApp (NTAP) - Get Report fell more than 1% after agreeing to buy flash-storage developer SolidFire for $870 million in cash. This is NetApp's largest deal in its history and is expected to close before April 2016.
Cintas (CTAS) - Get Report climbed 1.5% after reporting a better-than-expected quarter and promising outlook. The corporate uniforms provider reported an 8.5% increase in quarterly revenue and profit of $1.03 a share, 3 cents above analysts' estimates.
Ford (F) - Get Report and Google (GOOGL) - Get Report are reportedly in talks to develop self-driving vehicles. The two have been negotiating on a contract manufacturing deal, a source told Automotive News. Google has acknowledged that it is in talks with automakers regarding possible contracts, though didn't comment on this particular report.