Good health cheers Dow at month’s start - New York Report

Source: Getty
Health and consumer shares bounced back yesterday while car sales suggested upbeat growth in November, giving the markets a positive start to December.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 168.43 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 17,888.35, the S&P 500 gained 22.22 points, or 1.07 per cent, to 2,102.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 47.64 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 5,156.31.

The S&P health care index jumped 1.7 per cent, while the consumer discretionary index was up one per cent, both retracing Monday’s losses.

UnitedHealth Group shares rose 3.1 per cent to $116.26 after its chief executive defended the company’s possible withdrawal from the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. Shares of Anthem were up 4.2 per cent at $135.82.

Strong US car sales in November kept the industry on pace for a record year in 2015. Shares of Ford were up 1.6 per cent at $14.56, though General Motors’ were up 0.2 per cent at $36.26.

The S&P retail index rose one per cent. Amazon was up 2.1 per cent at $679.06.

“We get a feeling the consumer is still there though it’s not shopping brick and mortar as much. Cyber Monday results were certainly more positive than Black Friday results. Christmas hasn’t been cancelled, and that’s been reflected in stocks today,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Other data showed a sturdy increase in construction spending in October. Offsetting the upbeat economic news, however, was a report showing US manufacturing contracted in November for the first time in three years.