Dow, U.S. Stocks Rise as UnitedHealth Boss Warns Against Medicare for All
The U.S. stock market rallied Tuesday, with financials and industrials companies propelling the major indexes toward record highs. A stronger than expected earnings report from UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) was overshadowed by warnings that the Medicare for All bill proposed by House Democrats could destabilize the national health system.
Stocks Push Higher
All of Wall Street’s major indexes finished in positive territory. After rallying as much as 146 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average pared gains to settle up 67.89 points, or 0.3%, at 26,452.66. The blue-chip index is less than 400 points away from record territory.
The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.1% to 2,907.06. It had come within nine points of an all-time high earlier in the day. Financials stocks were the biggest contributors to the rally, followed by industrials, energy and consumer discretionary shares. Gains in these sectors offset huge declines in health care, utilities and the much smaller real estate sector.
The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.3% to close at 8,000.23.
UnitedHealth Beats on Earnings – and Warns against Democrat Bill
America’s largest health insurer and Dow blue-chip UnitedHealth Group Inc. reported better than expected earnings on Tuesday and raised its guidance for the year as revenues across its entire business increased. The company reported adjusted per-share earnings of $3.73 on revenue of $60.31 billion. Analysts had called for an EPS of $3.60 on sales of $59.7 billion.
With the earnings beat, UnitedHealth raised its full-year profit guidance to $14.75 per share from a prior estimate of $14.40 to $14.70. However, the outlook wasn’t entirely positive.
CEO David Wichmann warned that the Medicare for All bill proposed by House Democrats threatens to “destabilize the nation’s health system.”
In a post-earnings call, Wichmanns said that the proposed plan would “surely jeopardize the relationship people have with their doctors, destabilize the nation’s health system and limit the ability of clinicians to practice medicine at their best.”
He added: “And the inherent cost burden would surely have a severe impact on the economy and jobs — all without fundamentally increasing access to care.”
UNH stock settled down 4.1% on Tuesday.
Crypto Rally Resumes
The cryptocurrency market swung higher on Tuesday, as bitcoin (BTC) and the major altcoins joined an earlier advance that was spearheaded by bitcoin cash (BCH). The combined value of all coins in circulation improved to $176.6 billion, as bitcoin’s dominance rate jumped to 52.2%, the highest since early March.
Bitcoin’s price rallied 3.2% to $5,227, according to CoinMarketCap. Coins ranked nos. 2-7 by market cap each rose between 1.8% and 3.8%, based on latest available data.
Within the top-20, Tezos (XTZ) was the top performer, gaining 5.6% to $1.14. The privacy-focused Monero (XMR) rallied 4.5% to $68.
It has been nearly a week since the crypto market as a whole reached all-time highs but support to the downside has been well protected, offering yet another compelling sign that the market had turned. The accumulation phase is likely to continue in the near term, which should put pre-November market levels back in play.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via Stockcharts.com.