Home builder stocks were higher following the increase in home prices. Lennar rose 26 cents to $38.54 and PulteGroup rose 9 cents to $18.24.
Netflix and Amazon both fell after Netflix blamed Amazon for an outage over Christmas eve that that affected customers wanting to stream video. Netflix fell 84 cents to $89.39 and Amazon fell $2.85 to $255.77.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.76 percent from 1.77 percent Monday. Trading was closed Tuesday for the Christmas holiday. Oil prices rose. Benchmark crude gained $2.37 to $90.98 a barrel.
Japanese stocks hit a nine-month high as a pro-business government prepared to assume leadership. The Nikkei 225 index surged 1.5 percent to 10,230.36.
Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has put pressure on the Bank of Japan to raise its inflation target. The goal is to extricate the country from two decades of deflation, or declining prices, which has deadened the world's third-largest economy.