Banks, tech trigger a wave of buying

NEW YORK -- Some better-than-expected retail earnings reports and the latest reading on housing drew investors back into the stock market Tuesday after the previous day's big sell-off. The major indexes rose about 1 percent, led by a surge in financial and technology companies.

Investors were still wary about consumer spending but heard enough good news to fuel the comeback. Analysts said investors were putting things in perspective, believing the pullback was a bit overdone.

The U.S. market also was taking some cues from overseas exchanges, which got a boost from encouraging news about the German economy.

Home Depot beats expectations in 2Q

NEW YORK -- Home Depot said Tuesday its fiscal second-quarter profit fell 7 percent to $1.12 billion, as consumers continued to shy away from bigger purchases. But cost cutting and improvements in hard-hit areas of the country like California helped the company beat expectations. Revenue fell 9 percent to $19.07 billion.

The company said total U.S. transactions rose year-over-year for the first time in five years and same-store sales rates improved in Florida and California, two of its most important and troubled markets.

PlayStation 3 price to be slashed $100

NEW YORK -- After months of rumors and anticipation, Sony Corp. is slashing the price of the PlayStation 3 by $100 in hopes of boosting sales ahead of the holiday season.

Sony said Tuesday it will cut the price of the 80-gigabyte PlayStation 3 immediately, to $299. It is also launching a slimmer model with a 120 GB hard drive in early September; that version also will cost $299.

Sony also cut the price of its existing 160 GB PlayStation 3 by $100, to $399. All price cuts apply worldwide.

Sales of the PlayStation 3, which launched in 2006 and cost as much as $600 at the time, have fallen behind rival consoles.

Weak PC sales cut into profit at Hewlett

NEW YORK -- Hewlett-Packard''s profit dropped 19 percent in the latest quarter, dragged by ongoing weakness in sales of personal computers and printer ink.

The company said Tuesday that consumer spending on PCs is improving, and business in China was good. Corporations are still being tightfisted.

Saks Inc. posts its 5th straight loss

CHICAGO -- Saks Inc. posted its fifth consecutive quarterly loss Tuesday, as consumers continued to cut back on buying luxury fashion. But the loss wasn't as steep as expected.

The retailer lost $54.5 million for the three months ended Aug. 1. That compares with a loss of $32.7 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 15 percent to $561.7 million.

Clunkers fuel new work at GM plants

DETROIT -- General Motors said Tuesday it will add 60,000 vehicles to its production in the third and fourth quarters, spurred partly by demand from the government's Cash for Clunkers program. GM said it will bring back about 1,350 laid-off workers in the United States and Canada to bolster production.