by Marc Bastow | April 2, 2013 5:00 pm
Investors focused on strong news in the healthcare sector as well as the broader economy to pull themselves out of Monday’s doldrums, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 back into record territory.
The Dow rose 0.61% to a new all-time high at 14662.01, while the S&P 500 improved by 0.52% to its own mark of 1570.25. The Nasdaq pulled up the rear, gaining 0.48% to close at 3254.86.
The rally was juiced by news in the healthcare sector, as the The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a 3.3% increase in what the government will pay insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans. The CMS’s original reimbursement rate proposal called for a 2.2% cut.
Insurers roared in response, including Humana (NYSE:HUM, +5.5%), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH, +4.7%) and Aetna (NYSE:AET, +3.7%), and the healthcare sector as a whole pushed forward, as shown in the 1.5% gain for the Health Care SPDR (NYSE:XLV).
British mobile communications company Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) rose more than 3% on reports that it could be broken up and sold as part of a three-way deal with AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), which shares joint interest of Verizon Wireless with VOD. VZ and T moved ahead just under 1% on the day.
All three major U.S. automakers reported solid March truck and car sales, and Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) rose just under 1% on the day.
Among the few stocks not joining in the rally was Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), which slumped 5% on a Goldman Sachs downgrade to “sell.” Goldman also changed its mind on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), cutting its price target from $600 to $575 per share, though it retains its “buy” rating. AAPL still managed to improve fractionally despite the news.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and VZ.
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