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.
- Media General (NYSE:MEG): Up 8.1% (51 cents) to $6.78.
- Molycorp (NYSE:MCP): Up 6.7% (33 cents) to $5.24.
- Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN): Up 5.1% ($1.65) to $34.25.
- Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ): Down 12.8% ($4.10) to $27.91.
- Eldorado Gold (NYSE:EGO): Down 9.4% (88 cents) to $8.50.
- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL): Down 8.1% ($1.31) to $14.94.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and VZ.