“Greece was a potential obstacle and the fact that it looks like a better (chance of resolution) that took off pressure,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital. Auto sales for May also boosted investor sentiment on the health of the consumer, he said.
Stocks opened lower and recovered losses around noon following the European close. The German DAX came off lows in the close to end about 0.9 percent lower.
In the United States, stock gains remained muted. The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 30 points higher after falling more than 100 points soon after the open.
The German bund yield climbed to 0.66 percent and the euro topped $1.11 after euro zone inflation came in at 0.3 percent in May, above the 0.2 percent forecast.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield traded near 2.27 percent after holding below 2.20 percent for the last week.
The U.S. dollar fell more than 1.5 percent against major world currencies. Earlier, the greenback hit a 13-year high against the yen.
“We’re going to have to see better data to move this market higher,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. “Balance (the factory orders) out with May auto sales, we might get a push in terms of catalysts (to) neutral.”
Auto sales for May showed the strongest pace in nearly a decade, with pickup trucks and SUVs leading the way. General Motors sales rose 3 percent for the month, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saw a 4 percent increase. Ford sales declined 1 percent.
Aside from factory orders and vehicle sales, Tuesday is a quiet day for economic data ahead of a slew of releases in the next few days leading up to Friday’s key monthly jobs report.
“There’s not much to look at other than the negotiations between Greece and the IMF,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “I think the big thing is everybody is preparing for the big employment report at the end of this week.”
Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, said that data do not suggest significant second-quarter bounce and that a strong dollar delays rate normalization.
“The market needs to get direction from the Fed,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds. “I think governor Brainard is wrong. There are signs of the economy bouncing back in the second quarter.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 36 points, or 0.20 percent, at 18,076, with Boeing leading advancers and Intel the greatest laggard.
The S&P 500 traded up 4 points, or 0.20 percent, at 2,115, with energy leading seven sectors higher and utilities the greatest laggard.
The Nasdaq traded up 13 points, or 0.26 percent, at 5,096.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded below 14.
Three stocks advanced for every two decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 344 million and a composite volume of nearly 1.7 billion as of 1:31 p.m.
Crude oil futures for July delivery gained $1.35 to $61.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures for August delivery rose $5.20 to $1,193.90 an ounce in early afternoon trade.
In corporate news, discount retailer Dollar General reported an 8.8 percent rise in quarterly sales, helped by higher demand for tobacco and health care products and perishable food items.
PVH leaped more than 8 percent after the firm said it earned an adjusted $1.50 per share for its latest quarter, beating estimates by 12 cents. Revenue was essentially in line, and the maker of Calvin Klein and other apparel brands raised its full-year outlook and announced a $500 million stock buyback. The upbeat quarter came despite the negative impact of a strong dollar.
Medtronic reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.16 per share, beating estimates by 5 cents, with revenue also above forecasts. The medical products maker’s full-year forecast is slightly below Street estimates, however, as it increases the projected negative impact of the stronger dollar.
Apple will announce new music services at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Re/code also reports that the company will not announce a widely anticipated subscription TV service at the event, despite rampant speculation.
—Reuters and CNBC’s Peter Schacknow contributed to this report