US STOCKS-Healthcare leads Wall St higher, S&P record in view

Tue Apr 2, 2013 10:21am EDT
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* S&P 500 less than 0.5 percent away from all-time high

* Healthcare stocks rally, Humana is S&P's top gainer

* Verizon, AT&T may make break-up bid for Vodafone -report

* Goldman Sachs downgrades Hewlett-Packard, shares fall

* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time intraday high as healthcare stocks surged on prospects of a boost to earnings.

The group gained as planned cuts in U.S. government payments for private Medicare Advantage insurers did not materialize.

Humana, which derives about two-thirds of its revenue from Medicare Advantage business, soared 9.1 percent to $81.79 as the S&P 500's top percentage gainer. UnitedHealth Group, up 7.3 percent to $63.24, and Cigna Corp, up 4.4 percent to $65.66, were along among the top gainers.   Continued...