US stocks opened mildly higher Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to record highs, to begin a holiday shortened session following better-than-expected durable goods sales. New orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased 3.5 percent to 241.6 billion US dollars, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, adding that this increase, up three of the last four months, followed a 0.7-percent decrease in October. Moreover, US house price appreciation continued in October, with prices rising 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency' s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index. The latest figure marks the twenty-first consecutive monthly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index, added the FHFA. Investors are also keeping an eye on US new home sales for November, which will be published later in the morning by the Commerce Department. Volume is expected to be relatively low this week, as the US stock market will end early at 1:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday and close on Wednesday for Christmas. The three major stock indices continued their "Santa Claus" rally heading into the end of this year, as the Federal Reserve' s prudential tapering of its asset purchases last week and an upward revision of the third-quarter US economic growth fueled the stock market. Shortly after the opening bell, the blue-chip Dow advanced 30.06 points, or 0.18 percent, to 16,324.67. The S&P 500 gained 2.00 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,829.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 5.00 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,153.90.