Traders are also waiting on Federal Reserve meeting where policymakers could decide to raise interest rates for the first time in close to a decade. The meeting starts on Wednesday and wraps up a day later.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 41 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,414 as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,957. The Nasdaq composite fell rose six points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,812.
RETAIL SALES: Americans stepped up their spending on cars, restaurant meals, groceries and clothing in August. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales rose 0.2 percent last month, after advancing 0.7 percent in July. The increase was slightly less than economists had forecast.
FEDERAL RESERVE: Investors are looking ahead to the Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week. Opinions are split over whether the Fed will raise its benchmark interest rate at the end of its two-day meeting on Thursday. Economists expect the Fed to weigh China's slower economy and recent turbulence in financial markets against continued growth in the U.S. jobs market.
ENERGY: U.S. crude gained 75 cents to $44.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 63 cents to close at $44.00 a barrel on Monday.
EUROPE'S DAY: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent and France's CAC-40 rose 0.6 percent. Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent.
BANK OF JAPAN: Japan's central bank decided to not change its policy calling for 80 trillion yen ($666 billion) in annual asset purchases by the central bank, to help spur inflation and stimulate growth. A small minority of experts had speculated the bank could spring a surprise increase in its asset purchases to combat recent recurring signs the recovery is faltering. The central bank said the economy was still in a "moderate recovery," but said exports and production were affected by slowing growth in emerging markets.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent and South Korea's Kospi edged 0.3 percent higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.5 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.5 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 119.87 yen from 120.30 yen late Monday. The euro was little changed at $1.1309.