The Dow Jones industrial average climbed gained as much as 61 points before falling back, and was up nine points at 13,567 just after noon EDT. Home Depot led the 30 stocks in the Dow, gaining 1.7 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index added a point to 1,458.
Even more surprising than those two economic reports was the Richmond Federal Reserve's strong reading on regional manufacturing, a recent trouble spot, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors.
"Look at that. There were three data points on the economy and we crushed them," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. "I checked to see if the stock market is up, and it is. All is right with the world today."
The closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index of national house prices increased 1.2 percent in July compared with the same month in 2011. Prices rose from the previous month in all 20 major cities tracked by the report for the third month in a row.
The Conference Board said its gauge of consumer confidence shot to a seven-month high in September, trumping forecasts by a large margin. People surveyed said they were more optimistic about the job market.
The Federal Reserve's manufacturing index, which surveys companies in the central Atlantic region, increased after shrinking for three months as businesses turned more optimistic. Companies said they anticipate more orders and shipments even as employment dips. The index turned positive in September after a negative reading in August.
In other trading, the Nasdaq composite index added five points to 3,166. Google's stock touched an all-time high in early trading, clearing $763.
Carnival Corp. jumped 3 percent after the cruise-ship company posted better earnings than analysts had expected Tuesday morning. Its stock rose 95 cents to $37.95.
All three major stock indexes have surged this month, buoyed by a new plan from the Federal Reserve to support the sluggish U.S. economy. Both the Dow and the S&P 500, the benchmark for most stock funds, have gained almost 4 percent.
Treasury prices were little changed ahead of the first of three bond auctions this week. The government plans on selling $35 billion in two-year notes Tuesday. The 10-year yield, the benchmark for mortgages and other loans, was trading at 1.72 percent early Tuesday.