Positive corporate news helps push stocks higher

A mix of positive earnings and corporate news boosted stocks on Tuesday. Signs that Greece might be willing to broker a deal with its creditors also gave the market a lift. And General Motors gained after an activist investor said he would seek a seat on the company’s board and push for a stock buyback.

Stock investors have had a bumpy ride since the start of the year.

The market slumped in January as the ongoing drop in oil prices hit energy stocks and amid worries about the prospects for global growth. Stocks have bounced back in February as energy stocks rose from their lows and on signs that the U.S. economy is maintaining its recovery. On Tuesday, stocks logged a solid gain even after a big drop in oil prices pushed the energy sector lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 21.85 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,068.59. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 139.55 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,868.76. The Nasdaq composite rose 61.63 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,787.64.

Home Depot ready to hire for 80,000 spring positions

Home Depot said Tuesday it is looking to fill nationwide more than 80,000 positions for spring.

Spring is the busiest season for the Atlanta-based home improvement giant as consumers focus on sprucing up their homes and lawns as temperatures turn warm.

Available positions range from sales and cashiers to operations and online order fulfillment, the company said. Jobs include both permanent part-time and seasonal positions.

Coke beats expectations even as profit tumbles

Coca-Cola reported a profit that topped Wall Street expectations Tuesday as it stepped up marketing and fetched higher prices for sodas in North America.

The better-than-expected results helped send up the company’s shares, even though quarterly profit was dragged down 55 percent by unfavorable currency rates overseas and one-time charges related to cost-cutting. The world’s biggest beverage maker has been struggling to boost global sales volume and said it expects 2015 to be another challenging year.

To make up for weak volume gains at home, the company has been using a variety of tactics including a focus on “mini-cans” and smaller bottles that are positioned as premium offerings and help push up revenue.

For the quarter, Coca-Cola’s overall soda volume in North America was flat, while volume for non-carbonated drinks rose 3 percent. Its “price/mix” for the region, which factors in the prices and sizes of its drinks, rose 4 percent.

– From news service reports