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While you were sleeping: Health care stocks rise

While you were sleeping: Health care stocks rise

By Margreet Dietz

June 23 (BusinessDesk) - Wall Street moved higher as oil prices recovered while investors assessed the health-care bill released by Senate Republicans.

In 11.27am trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.1 percent. In 11.12am trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.2 percent.

The Dow moved higher as gains in shares of UnitedHealth Group and those of Pfizer, recently up 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Wal-Mart Stores and those of Goldman Sachs, recently down 1.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Health care stocks moved higher after Senate Republicans released the bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act. The proposal would provide an additional US$50 billion over four years to stabilise insurance exchanges, boosting health insurers, according to Bloomberg.

Oil prices rebounded, with US crude trading 0.8 percent higher, but concern remained that the global glut will persist.

"Oil is trying to balance, but I'm worried that it would continue to head lower," Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management, told Reuters. "I think this a situation where OPEC is ceding market share and is no longer able to control prices."

Shares of Oracle jumped, trading 8.7 percent higher as of 11.21am in New York, after the software maker posted quarterly earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations

“Everything looks very, very strong,” Joel Fishbein, an analyst at BTIG, told Bloomberg. “Oracle is a legitimate and formidable cloud player.”

Shares of American Airlines gained, trading 1.5 percent higher as of 11.39am, after government-owned Qatar Airways said it plans to buy as much as a 10 percent stake in the US airline.

Qatar Airways intends to purchase at least US$808 million worth of American Airlines shares and, in a conversation between the CEOs of the two companies initiated by the Qatar Airways CEO, Qatar Airways indicated that it has an interest in acquiring approximately a 10 percent stake, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Meanwhile, the US dollar weakened as the latest jobs data offered further evidence of a tight labour market. A Labour Department report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000 for the week ended June 17.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX Index rose 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC40 Index also gained 0.2 percent. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.1 percent.

“Equities are still the least unattractive asset class,” Barclays’ Ajay Rajadhyaksha and Michael Gavin wrote in a note, Bloomberg reported. “Investors should resist the contrarian temptation to retreat from equity risk, in part because safe assets are similarly richly valued.”

(BusinessDesk)

ends

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