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Broad based gains among technology and consumer-discretionary shares helped benchmarks close higher on Tuesday. Microsoft led gains among the tech sector, while consumer confidence hit its highest level in nine years this month, propelling consumer related stocks higher. Shares of cruise operators and other companies associated with travel were among the top performers. Hillary Clinton held an edge over Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, boosting investor sentiment.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.7% or 133.47 points to close at 18,228.30. The S&P 500 advanced 0.6% to close at 2,159.93. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,305.71, increasing 0.9%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 10.8% to settle at 12.93. A total of around 3.4 billion shares were traded on Tuesday on the NYSE. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 57% stocks that advanced, 40% declined.

Tech and Discretionary Shares Led the Gains

The technology sector was boosted by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Analyst Report) , which eventually helped the broader markets settle in the green. Shares of Microsoft gained 1.9% on its initiative to increase its stake in the creative cloud space. Other key tech stocks including Alphabet Inc (GOOGL - Analyst Report) and Facebook Inc (FB - Analyst Report) advanced 1% and 1.1%, respectively. Overall, the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) increased 1.1%, the highest among the S&P 500 sectors.

Consumer discretionary shares also led the advances. Consumer confidence touching its highest level in nine years in September boosted such shares. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased at a seasonally adjusted rate to 104.1 in September, more than the upwardly revised 101.8 in August. The index was at its highest level since Aug 2007, which marked the beginning of the financial crisis leading to a severe recession in 2007-09. This shows that American’s are coming out from the long recession and continue to support economic growth.

Among consumer discretionary shares, travel related companies gained the most. Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL - Analyst Report) and Tripadvisor Inc (TRIP - Analyst Report) gained 4.8% and 3.8%, respectively. Overall, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) went up 1% and was the second biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Clinton Wins First Debate Against Trump

Advancement in stocks indicated that Clinton had an upper hand over Trump in Monday’s presidential debate. Stocks moved north on prospects of a Clinton win in the upcoming election as her views are mostly predictable. On the other hand, Trump is more unpredictable, something that doesn’t go well with investors.

Clinton showed a better degree of preparedness on matters of public policy, defense and tax reform. She also put Trump on the wrong foot about his record on several sensitive issues including his track record in business (read more: 3 Stocks to Watch after Hillary Clinton's Debate Performance).

Stocks that Made Headlines

NIKE Tops Q1 Earnings, Soft Future Orders Hurt Stock

Keeping its positive earnings surprise trend alive for the seventeenth straight quarter, NIKE Inc. (NKE - Analyst Report) posted solid first-quarter fiscal 2017 results. (Read More)

BlackBerry Incurs Narrower-Than-Expected Q2 Loss

Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry Limited (BBRY - Analyst Report) reported narrower-than-expected loss for second-quarter fiscal 2017. (Read More)

Comcast NBC: Record-High Viewers for Presidential Debate

Comcast Corporation’s (CMCSA - Analyst Report) NBC broadcasting network has outshined rivals in terms of viewership numbers for the first presidential debate of the year. (Read More)

Will Facebook Find Success with Facebook At Work?

Per media reports, over the next few weeks, Facebook Inc. (FB - Analyst Report) could launch its business-centric communication network, Facebook at Work. (Read More)

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