MetLife announced plans to buy its own shares, aiming to spend up to $1 billion. The news sent MetLife up 39 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $55.05.
More evidence of an improving economy came Tuesday when the government reported that wholesalers added to their stockpiles of goods in April, a move that suggests they anticipate stronger growth. A separate report showed that the number of job openings climbed to 4.5 million in April, the highest figure since September 2007. The increase could be a hint of stronger hiring in the months ahead.
"The labor market recovery looks for real," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, wrote in a note to clients. "The economy is better than you think."
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury inched up to 2.64 percent from 2.61 percent late Monday. Yields rise when bond prices fall. The price of oil fell 6 cents to settle at $104.35 a barrel.
Among other companies in the news:
• After rising to $165.48 in the morning, Allergan's stock went into reverse and lost $1.06 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $163.09. The company rejected a buyout offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management, saying the $53 billion bid undervalues the maker of Botox.
• Best Buy's stock rose 69 cents, or 2 percent, to $29.49 after the retailer said it was going to raise its quarterly dividend by two cents to 19 cents a share. The move comes a month after Best Buy reported its highest quarterly profit in more than three years.