US STOCKS-Wall St advances on tech, retail gains

 * Trading volume remains low near quarter close
 * Home Depot rallies on stock-buyback program
 * Consumer confidence, home prices fall
 * Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 (Updates to midday)
 By Chuck Mikolajczak
 NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday
in a light volume session, erasing initial declines as
investors moved into sectors that lost ground after Japan's
earthquake as the quarter draws to a close.
 The S&P 500 index has risen 4.5 percent in the first
quarter and was on track for its seventh positive quarter in
the last eight.
 Technology and retail stocks were among the better-
performing sectors on Tuesday, as investors found value in
stocks that fell in the pullback following the earthquake. The
S&P Information Technology index (.GSPT: Quote, Profile, Research) had lost as much as 4
percent in the aftermath of the disaster in Japan, while  the
S&P Retail index (.RLX: Quote, Profile, Research) dropped as much as 2.1 percent.
 The S&P Information Technology Index was up 0.5 percent on
Tuesday and the S&P Retail Index was up 1.1 percent.
 "A lot of stocks got taken down sharply as a result of
what was going on in Japan, and very unfairly, particularly in
the technology space -- and you are seeing technology and
retail kind of lead the charge higher." said Peter Kenny,
managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New
Jersey.
 Home Depot Inc (HD.N: Quote, Profile, Research), up 2.7 percent at $37.63, was among
the Dow's best performers after the home improvement retailer
said it would buy back $1 billion of outstanding shares
through an accelerated program.  For details, see
[ID:nN28219743]
 The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 60.55
points, or 0.50 percent, to 12,258,43. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 5.15 points, or 0.39 percent, to
1,315.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) climbed 19.30
points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,749.98.
 Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 2.7 percent to $173.88 after
it introduced a service offering remote access to music, ahead
of rivals Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research).
[ID:nL3E7ET0TS]
 Cisco Systems (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 1.1 percent to $17.32 after
it said it plans to buy software company newScale Inc for an
undisclosed amount to boost its cloud computing services.
[ID:nL3E7ET0TS] [ID:nN29243506]
 Investors shrugged off economic data that showed U.S.
consumer confidence fell in March as households worried about
inflation, while home prices dropped for the seventh straight
month in January. [ID:nN29268691]
 On the downside, Apollo Group (APOL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 7.2 percent to
$39.30 after the education company said new enrollment fell 45
percent in second quarter. [ID:nL3E7ET1V1]
 Lennar Corp (LEN.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the third-largest U.S. homebuilder,
fell 2 percent to $19.36 after swinging to a first-quarter
profit, but reporting a drop in revenue. [ID:nN29249040]
 (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)








US STOCKS-Wall St advances on tech, retail gains