US STOCKS-Wall St rises with health insurers, S&P close to record

Tue Apr 2, 2013 3:29pm EDT
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* S&P 500 inches closer to all-time intraday high

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

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, moving the S&P 500 closer to its all-time intraday high, as increased payment rates for some health insurers boosted the sector and Cyprus concluded bailout talks.

The U.S. government dropped plans to cut payments for private Medicare Advantage insurers and instead said it would allow a 3.3 percent raise.

Shares of Humana, which derives about two-thirds of its revenue from Medicare Advantage business, jumped 6.2 percent to $79.64 and was the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P 500. UnitedHealth Group gained 6.2 percent to $62.67.

"They didn't expect the result that they got. That will help with their bottom line," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

Stocks also gained because "Cyprus was given a reprieve," she said.   Continued...