Stocks started off December on a strong note, helped by improving economic data from Japan and Europe as well as hopes that the European Central Bank will expand its stimulus program. Trading remained relatively quiet ahead of the release later this week of the U.S. government's monthly jobs survey and a Federal Reserve meeting later this month.

Stocks started off December on a strong note, helped by improving economic data from Japan and Europe as well as hopes that the European Central Bank will expand its stimulus program. Trading remained relatively quiet ahead of the release later this week of the U.S. government's monthly jobs survey and a Federal Reserve meeting later this month.

For Tuesday:

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168.43 points, or 1 percent, to 17,888.35.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 22.22 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,102.63.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 47.64 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,156.31.

For the week:

The Dow is up 89.86 points, or 0.5 percent.

The S&P 500 is up 12.52 points, or 0.6 percent.

The Nasdaq composite is up 28.78 points, or 0.6 percent.

For the year:

The Dow is up 65.28 points, or 0.4 percent.

The S&P is up 43.73 points, or 2.1 percent.

The Nasdaq is up 420.25 points, or 8.9 percent.