February 26, 2016 / 9:45 PM / 2 years ago

BUZZ-U.S. stocks weekly: Baby steps

** Stocks move higher for second straight week, chipping away at YTD losses, still closely aligned with the direction of crude

** Nibbles again seen in beaten-down names, but many investors question rally’s sustainability and massive intraday market swings subdue trading volumes

** S&P 500 index adds 1.6 pct with 9 of 10 sectors notching gains

** Materials, a laggard over last few months, is best sector, up 3.1 pct. Alcoa Inc lifts 13 pct and among top SPX performers

** Consumer discretionary a close second, up 2.8 pct, as Home Depot thrives on warm weather and bucks retail gloom

** Tech adds 1.5 pct. Salesforce.com pacifies , while HP Inc copes post divorce

** Reprieve extends for financials, up 1.5 pct, even as banks warn on energy exposure and dearth of capital markets business takes its toll

** Energy ekes out a 0.4 pct gain as oil prices stabilize and the E&P equity raise parade marches on

** Healthcare rises 2 pct. Insurers UnitedHealth , Aetna, Cigna Corp, Humana lift 3-8 pct on proposed Medicare Advantage rate hike

** Only utilities in the red with fractional loss. Sector gives back all its gains on Friday following strong GDP and inflation data

** Notable single-stock winners: Chesapeake Energy (35 pct) reshuffles ; Frontier Communications (22 pct) on strong results

** One-year sector performance for the S&P 500 : reut.rs/1k6B7QQ (RM: lance.tupper.tr.com@reuters.net)

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