Core Logic, a private provider of real estate data, said U.S. home prices in August rose 4.6 percent compared with the same month last year. Prices also rose 0.3 percent from July, the sixth consecutive month of gains.
Other gauges of the housing market have improved in recent months, including home sales.
On Monday, the manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management also showed improvement. ISM's main index nosed above 50, a reading that signals growth. The index had been below 50 from June through August.
Investors are also looking ahead to quarterly earnings, which begin in earnest when the aluminum company Alcoa reports results Oct. 9.
Among other stocks that made big moves Tuesday:
— News that Deutsche Telekom said it may buy the cellphone carrier MetroPCS Communications sent MetroPCS's stock up 18 percent. Reports said the board of Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile USA, would vote to approve the deal Wednesday. MetroPCS gained $2.05 to $13.57.
— PetSmart rose 99 cents to $68.55. Standard & Poor's said the pet-store chain will replace Sunoco in the S&P 500 index at the end of trading Thursday. The S&P 500 is the most commonly used benchmark for stock mutual funds. When a company joins the index, mutual fund managers are more likely to buy it. Sunoco was bought by Energy Transfer Partners.