U.S. stocks closed sharply higher Tuesday as markets focused on evidence of the global economy reemerging from COVID-19 shutdowns and some signs of progress on the race for a vaccine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.26% rose 530 points, or 2.2% to close around 24,995 and the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.53% gained 36 points, or 1.2% to finish the session near 2,992. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 16 points, or 0.2%, to close at about 9,340. Sentiment was buoyed by news that Novavax Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202614340/composite NVAX -1.19% had started human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine. Also fueling gains were recent data showing U.S. air travel has risen and evidence that restaurants and freight trucking were seeing greater demand. Airline stocks surged Tuesday, with the US Global JETS ETF /zigman2/quotes/207744796/composite JETS -4.16% gaining 11.2% on the day, led by shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -4.74% , United Airlines Holdings, Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL -6.78% and American Airlines Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL -5.71% , all of which posted double-digit gains. The session was also colored by evidence of a rotation out of what has been a defensive technology sector into cyclical names that benefit during economic recoveries. Financial stocks posted the biggest gains on a sector basis, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund /zigman2/quotes/209660484/composite XLF -2.09% rising 5.3% on the day.