Rising oil prices help push U.S. stock indexes higher

A jump in oil prices helped push U.S. stocks indexes sharply higher for a second day on Tuesday, erasing much of their losses from the start of the year.

U.S. benchmark oil surged 7 percent on hopes that a seven-month collapse in prices that had rattled financial markets was ending. All 10 industry sectors of the Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose, led a 2.8 percent gain in energy shares.

Stocks climbed from the start following a rally in European markets on signs that Greece’s new government won’t press for a write-off of the country’s bailout loans. The benchmark stock index in Athens jumped 11 percent.

U.S. investors were also encouraged by a surge in auto sales last month.

The S&P 500 index climbed 29.18 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,050.03. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 305.36 points, or 1.8 percent, to 17,666.40. The Nasdaq rose 51.05 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,727.74.

Disney quarterly profits rise 19 percent

It was a magical first quarter for The Walt Disney Co., which posted profit and revenue that topped expectations. Strong results from Frozen merchandise, Disney Channels, and its U.S. theme parks and resorts drove profit up 19 percent in the last three months of 2014.

Revenue from parks and resorts rose 9 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by higher attendance and customer spending at its California and Florida properties.

Office Depot, Staples talking about a merger

Office Depot and Staples stock surged on a report Tuesday that the nation’s top two office-supply retailers were in “advanced talks” to merge. Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, closed at $9.27, up 21.49 percent in Nasdaq trading, just below its 52-week high of $9.32. Staples closed at $19.01, up 10.91 percent.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal reported merger talks but cautioned that a deal is not guaranteed.

Coke plans premium milk as it diversifies offerings

Coke is coming out with premium milk that has more protein and less sugar than regular. And it’s betting people will pay twice as much for it.

The national rollout of Fairlife over the next several weeks marks Coca-Cola’s entry into the milk case in the U.S. and is one way the world’s biggest beverage maker is diversifying its offerings as Americans continue turning away from soft drinks.

Coke sees an opportunity to step into the milk category, where the differences between options remain relatively minimal and consumption has been declining for decades.