US stocks : Dow up 0.9 pct
It was the S&P 500's first back-to-back gain of more than 1 percent since late July.
Stocks of smaller companies outperformed the broader market, with the Russell 2000 up 1.5 percent.
Shares of firearm makers sank in the aftermath of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday that killed 20 young children and six adults.
Smith and Wesson fell 10 percent to $7.79 on its largest-ever daily volume, though it was still up about 77 percent so far this year. Sturm Ruger and Co slid 7.7 percent Tuesday to $40.60.
Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said it would sell gunmaker Freedom Group, whose Bushmaster AR-15 rifle was used in the Connecticut massacre. Dick's Sporting Goods suspended the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles in its stores nationwide.
Technology shares rose, led by Apple, up 2.9 percent at $533.90 after losing nearly 13 percent in the last two weeks. The S&P Information Technology Index rose 1.7 percent.
Arbitron Inc surged 23.6 percent to $47.03 after Nielsen Holdings NV agreed to buy the media and marketing research firm in a deal worth $1.26 billion. Nielsen rose 4.4 percent to $30.92.
About 7.4 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, more than the daily average so far this year of about 6.5 billion shares.
On the NYSE, roughly 14 issues rose for
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