Wall Street Claws Higher After Earnings, Data Deluge

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as inflation data was seen keeping the Federal Reserve in an equities-friendly tone, while hopes rose for an easing of tensions in Ukraine.

Mixed earnings have been pouring in since Monday's closing bell, allowing the positive bent to spread. U.S. consumer prices rose in June as the cost of gasoline surged, but the overall trend continued to point to a gradual build-up of inflationary pressures - allowing the Federal Reserve to continue to slowly take the foot off the stimulus pedal.

An index of homebuilder stocks rose 1.3 percent after separate data showed U.S. home resales rose in June at their fastest pace in eight months.

"Evidence of inflationary fear is not there. For the most part, the market is riding high on the earnings and ignoring the geopolitical message," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Pro-Russian rebels agreed to hand over the black boxes from the Malaysian plane shot down last week near the Ukraine-Russia border and the Malaysian government announced it also negotiated the release of the remains of nearly 300 victims.

The European Union threatened Russia with harsher sanctions over Ukraine, but France's president signaled the disputed delivery of a warship to Moscow would go ahead.

Traders will also keep an eye on the Middle East as Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip and said no ceasefire was near. Top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks to stop fighting that has claimed nearly 600 lives, an overwhelming majority from inside Gaza.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 81.3 points or 0.48 percent, to 17,133.03, the S&P 500 gained 12.55 points or 0.64 percent, to 1,986.18 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.70 points or 0.87 percent, to 4,463.41.

Verizon's shares edged 0.2 percent higher after its revenue topped estimates and Chipotle Mexican Grill jumped 12 percent to $660.75 a day after it reported a nearly 26 percent jump in quarterly profit.

United Technologies gave a rosy outlook but shares fell 2.7 percent to $109.96 and Coke dropped 3 percent to $41.11 after its sales missed estimates, weighed by stalling growth in North America. Travelers dropped 4.4 percent to $91.08 after hail and wind storms in the United States increased catastrophe losses.