The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17 points to 13,186 in the first half-hour of trading. The broader S&P 500 index added two points at 1,406 and the Nasdaq composite index rose four points to 3026.
U.S. retail sales rose in July by the largest amount in five months as Americans spent more on cars, furniture and clothes.
Sales rose 0.8 percent in July from June, according to the Commerce Department, after three months of declines. That was much better than the 0.3 percent increase economists expected, and comes just as countries in Asia and Europe are slowing.
The report provided investors hope that the U.S. economy was strengthening. They abandoned safe investments such as U.S. government bonds, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sharply higher to 1.72 percent, from 1.66 percent late Monday.
Home Depot jumped $1.28 to $54.09. The world's biggest home-improvement retailer posted a 12 percent jump in net income and increased its earnings forecast for the entire year. Home Depot's fortunes are closely tied to the housing market, which has been improving. On Thursday, the Department of Commerce releases the housing starts and building permits report for July.
Among other stocks making big moves:
— Groupon plummeted 22 percent. The online coupon company's stock fell to an all-time low of $5.89, down $1.66 after its sales growth fell short of expectations partly due to worsening conditions in Europe.
— Estee Lauder rose $4 to $59.03. The beauty company, whose brands include MAC and Aveda, reported results that topped Wall Street expectations. The company also raised its revenue forecast for the year.
— Saks rose 55 cents, or 5 percent, to $11.40. The luxury retailer posted a loss, but sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.7 percent.