US STOCKS-Wall St climbs with health insurers, S&P nears high

Tue Apr 2, 2013 5:24pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* S&P 500 inches closer to all-time intraday high

* Healthcare stocks rally, Humana among S&P's top percentage gainers

* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, led by the healthcare sector after a government decision on payment rates, while factory orders data confirmed the economy is steadily improving.

The S&P 500 closed at another record high, though it fell short of breaking above its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09. The Dow also ended at another record high.

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. The news boosted shares of some health insurers, including Humana, which derives about two-thirds of its revenue from Medicare Advantage business.

Humana's stock jumped 5.5 percent to $79.11 and was among the biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500. UnitedHealth Group gained 4.7 percent to $61.74, while the S&P 500 healthcare sector index jumped 1.4 percent.

"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.   Continued...