Friday's job report jolted investors by coming up far short of the 200,000 new jobs expected for March with only 88,000 jobs added in the month. But it also rattled analysts as the unemployment rate dropped from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, which showed clearly the declining unemployment rate was due to persons giving up on their job searches rather than persons finding work.
There were no major economic reports released Tuesday. Investors contemplated Alcoa's first quarter corporate report, which showed profits that exceeded expectations due to increased demand for automobiles.
Retailer J.C. Penny said it had fired its Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson and was bringing back former CEO Myron Ullman, which pushed the stock lower.
As markets closed, the Dow Jones industrial average added 59.98 points or 0.41 percent to 14,673.46. The Standard & Poor's 5500 index gained 5.54 points, 0.35 percent, to 1,568.61. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index gained 15.61 points, 0.48 percent, to 3,237.86.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,768 stocks advanced and 1,265 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.
The 10-year U.S. treasury note fell 1/32 to yield 1.753 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro was higher at $1.3081 from Monday's $1.3008. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 99 yen from Monday's 99.37 yen.
The dollar index, a prorated measure of the dollar against six major currencies, dropped 0.44 percent to 82.37 on the International Exchange.
Stocks were mixed in Asia and in Europe. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 2.8 percent, gaining 358.95 points, to 13,192.59. In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.43 percent, 27.16 points, to 6,276.94.
Oil closed higher at $93.94 per barrel, up 44 cents. Gold added $11.80 to $1,584.90 per troy ounce.
Corn closed higher on the Chicago Board of Trade with May contract corn up 11.75 cents to $6.4425 per bushel. Wheat gave up 5.5 cents to $7.07 per bushel. Soybeans climbed to $13.94 per bushel, up 16 cents.