U.S. stocks opened higher Tuesday ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day monetary policy meeting began on Tuesday.
Investors' eyes are all on the Federal Reserve's policy meeting for what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would say about a possible tapering he mentioned last month in his testimony to Congress. Heated debates about scaling back the central bank's massive quantitative easing has caused market volatility recently.
On the economic front, U.S. consumer prices rebounded mildly in May, rising 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis after a 0.4-percent decline in April, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday.
The fresh data was lower than market estimates and suggested that inflationary pressure remain subdued, which could provide more cushion for the Fed to keep its massive asset purchases to stimulate the economy.
Meanwhile, U.S. housing starts in May rebounded from a sharp plunge in April. Privately-owned housing starts in May jumped 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000, the U.S. Commerce Department said. But building permits, a sign of future demand, fell 3.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000, the department added.
In corporate news, the Board of Directors of Smithfield Foods reiterated its support for the proposed merger with Shuanghui late on Monday after a shareholder of the U.S. pork processor opposed the acquisition and suggested a business breakup to seek greater corporate value. Shares of Smithfield Food edged up 0.33 percent to 33.19 U.S. dollars a share in morning trading.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 38.69 points, or 0.25 percent, to 15,218.54 points. The S&P 500 ticked up 1.83 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,640.87 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 8.21 points, or 0.24 percent, to 3,460.34 points.