The Dow Jones industrial average rose 70 points to 13,324 as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Alcoa led the 30 stocks in the Dow, rising 2 percent, or 21 cents, to $9.26.
Federal Reserve officials gather for a two-day meeting on Wednesday. Many expect the Fed to take steps to revive the sluggish economy.
Germany's high court is expected to rule Wednesday on whether the country can participate in a European bailout fund. The court rejected a last-minute appeal to delay the decision.
In other trading, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points to 1,433. The Nasdaq composite edged up three points to 3,107.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that exports to Europe dropped 11.7 percent in July, stoking concerns that Europe's troubles could smother the U.S. recovery. Overall U.S. exports fell 1 percent to $183.3 billion, lowered by weaker sales of autos, telecom equipment and heavy machinery.
A profit warning from luxury clothing chain Burberry helped tug down other high-end retailers in early trading. Burberry said slowing sales to China will likely weaken earnings. Ralph Lauren lost $5.25 to $155.09. Tiffany & Co. sank 91 cents to $62.13.
Legg Mason jumped 4 percent following reports that its CEO will step down Oct. 1. Clients have been pulling money out of the money manager's funds, weakening revenue. Legg Mason's stock rose $1.09 to $26.58.