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Dow gains 100 points; energy rises 3% as oil surges

U.S. stocks traded higher Tuesday, attempting to extend November's gains so far, as investors awaited key economic reports and Fed speakers later in the week.

"There's a whole lot of nothing going on. The only standout is energy as a group that's outperforming," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management.

"I think investors want to be early in the (economy-sensitive) groups. There's a rotation going on in the marketplace. We don't know where the (money) is going to end up, but the strength remains in materials, predominantly the oils," he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained over 100 points in afternoon trade, with Chevron and Visa contributing the most to gains. The index remained in the green for 2015 after closing there Monday for the first time since July 22.

The S&P 500 traded higher, above the psychologically key level of 2,100 reached Monday. Energy rose more than 3 percent in a second straight day of gains, while materials was the second-best advancer. Consumer staples was the greatest decliner.

Oil traded over 4 percent higher in afternoon trade, with crude above $48 a barrel.

"Oil is still in a trading range. It's bouncing since the end of August when oil briefly traded below $40. ... There's still not a lot of conviction. Oil's not breaking out here," said Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst at Raymond James. "There's some value buying on the dip going on right now. There is nothing stunning coming out of the energy sector all of a sudden today."

Energy is the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 year-to-date, down more than 9.5 percent.

The Nasdaq composite also traded higher as biotech stocks reversed losses and Apple extended gains to trade more than 1.5 percent higher.

The Nasdaq 100 gained about 0.5 in afternoon trade, at its highest levels since March 2000 and on track for a record close.

The Dow transports held about a third of a percent lower.

In economic news, U.S. factory orders fell 1.0 percent in September, a second-straight month of decline, Reuters reported.

Initial auto sales reports for October showed continued strength.

No other major data is scheduled for release Tuesday, ahead of Friday's key nonfarm payrolls report which investors will watch carefully for indications on the timing of a rate hike.

"There's a lot of stocks, IBM, Disney, having a nice small day," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

"I think you're starting to see people trading in anticipation of (Friday's jobs...