S&P 500 Moves Higher on Healthcare Surge
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Healthcare stocks led U.S. stock markets higher on Tuesday, buoyed by a better-than-expected increase in U.S. factory orders in February and gains by European markets.
The S&P 500 closed 0.52% higher at 1,570.25, led by Humana
U.S. factory orders increased 3% in February on greater demand for cars and aircraft. The uptick followed a 2% decline in January.
The Dow closed up 0.61% to 14,662.01 while the Nasdaq finished ahead by 0.48% to 3,254.86.
"Clearly, stocks have had an exceptional run to start the year and handily outperformed bonds," Russ Koesterich, BlackRock's global chief investment strategist, said in a weekly investment note late Monday. "We certainly don't expect this pace of gains to continue, but even after the first-quarter rally, stocks still look inexpensive compared to fixed income alternatives, so we would continue to advocate overweight positions in equities."
Health care stocks rose on Tuesday, a day after the U.S. government reversed a proposal to reduce a key Medicare payment rate. DaVita HealthCare Partners led the group, jumping 6.1% to $127.20.09. UnitedHealth advanced 4.7% to $61.74.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 8/32, lifting the yield to 1.863%. The dollar was up 0.24%, according to the U.S. dollar index.
May crude oil futures added 12 cents to settle at $97.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. automakers, including Ford
The FTSE in London closed higher by 1.23% on Tuesday and the DAX in Germany added 1.9% on modest bailout terms for Cyprus and a better-than-expected eurozone manufacturing sector report.
The S&P broke new ground last week reaching 1,569.19 to trump its former, pre-credit-crisis record of 1,565.15 reached on Oct. 9, 2007. This came shortly after the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke its 2007 record high on March 5. The S&P's next milestone is its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, set on Oct. 11, 2007.
Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York
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