The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50.3 points to 13,593.7, with 18 of its 30 components trading higher. Exxon was among the bigger gainers, up 2.8%.
Not all of the blue-chip financials followed suit, however. Citigroup Inc. saw its shares move down 2.9% amid reports that the same executive who steered its role in the rescue of collapsed hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management has been tapped to run a new dedicated subprime unit.
Citi's shares were also downgraded to neutral from buy by Bank of America Securities analysts, who cited "eroding confidence in earnings and book value." .
The S&P 500 advanced 6.62 points to 1,508.79, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 4.13 points to 2,799.31.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange hit 810 million shares, with advancing stocks just ahead of decliners, roughly 16 to 15. On the Nasdaq, 1.5 billion shares exchanged hands, and decliners outpaced advancing stocks about 4 to 3.
The technology sector also was in focus. Overnight, shares of Alibaba.com almost tripled in their Hong Kong debut, marking a successful start for the world's largest initial public offering by an e-commerce company since Google Inc.
Yahoo Inc. holds a roughly 40% stake in Alibaba.com.
Beazer Homes USA Inc. gained 0.5% after the home builder said it would end dividend payments and cut 650 jobs to firm up its capital position.
In energy trading, crude-oil futures rallied, reaching $97.10 a barrel for the first time. More recent, crude was up $2.84 at $96.82.
In foreign exchange, the dollar fell against the euro ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank interest-rate decision, with the ECB widely expected to hold its benchmark steady at 4%.
The euro was trading at $1.4561 after earlier rising to $1.4571, its highest level since it began trading in January 1999. The greenback was buying 114.49 yen, compared with 114.53 yen in late U.S. trading Monday.
Weakness in the dollar was seen as a factor helping both crude-oil and gold futures extend their recent rallies.
In Europe, stocks maintained gains and stood poised to end a three-session losing streak as investors bought into the hard-hit resources sector. Earnings from Marks & Spencer and Swiss Re also won investors' applause. .
Elsewhere overseas, Asian markets ended mixed after a volatile session. .
By Kate Gibson