TECH MOVERS: Technology companies rose 1.6 percent, the most of the 10 sectors that make up the S&P 500.
Intel climbed 87 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $26.38 after analysts at JPMorgan raised their rating on the stock and predicted that demand for PCs will stabilize this year and that the company's CEO will focus improving margins and returns.
Jabil Circuit jumped $1.23, or 7.4 percent, to $17.82 after Goldman Sachs recommended buying the stock of the electronics company, predicting that its earnings for next year could be better than most analysts are expecting.
BANK EARNINGS: Investors were watching results from two big banks. JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank by assets, rose 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $57.84 after reporting gains in most of its divisions except for investment banking.
Wells Fargo was flat at $45.59 after the nation's biggest mortgage lender reported a sharp drop in its mortgage business even as its bottom-line income rose 11 percent.
CONSOLIDATION, NOT CAPITULATION: Despite the slow start to the year — the S&P 500 index is down 0.7 percent in 2014 after a gain of almost 30 percent last year — many investors remain optimistic that stocks will end this year higher as well, and will come to see the current slump as a pause rather than a collapse.
"Valuations have been certainly been pushed higher, so (stocks) are no longer cheap," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "But we would contend that they are still fair."
RETAIL SALES: Americans spent more on clothing and online in December, but they cut back almost everywhere else. Retail sales rose just 0.2 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Sales had risen sharply in October and November, helped by brisk auto sales.
SURGING SURGERY: Intuitive Surgical jumped $36.51, or 9.2 percent, to $429.58 after the company said it will report revenue in the fourth quarter that is higher than Wall Street analysts are forecasting, as procedures performed with its robotic da Vinci system increased.
GAMESTOPPED: GameStop plunged $8.75, or 19.3 percent, to $36.58 after the world's largest video game retailer gave a profit forecast that fell below Wall Street's expectations for its crucial holiday quarter, despite higher-than-expected sales.
TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.88 percent from 2.83 percent on Monday. The price of oil climbed 79 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $92.59. Gold fell $5.70, or 0.5 percent, to $1,245.40 an ounce.