Events in health insurance, basic materials and utilities sparked a rally in the stock market on Tuesday as investors looked past earnings.
The S&P 500 closed at 1150.23, up 14.20 points, or 1.25 percent from yesterday.
The market was led early in the session by health insurance stocks in anticipation of a Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race. The victory would take away the Democrats’ 60-vote filibuster-proof majority, potentially blocking President Barack Obama’s push to enact healthcare reforms.
Among the leaders of the healthcare rally were UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), Humana (NYSE:HUM), and Coventry (NYSE:CVH). Giant pharmaceutical companies such as Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) also benefited from the anticipated election results.
Basic materials got a boost today from a Deutsche Bank upgrade on U.S. Steel. In the report, analyst David Martin pinned his positive outlook on the price and demand for bulk materials and a projected 4 percent growth for global Gross Domestic Product and continued government funding for infrastructure projects.
The utilities sector finished ahead of healthcare to lead the rally, gaining 1.78 percent. The rally was led by electric utility giant Korea Electric Power (NYSE:KEP). It won a deal to build power plants in Turkey.
The sector was also helped by a rise in shares of Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) and Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ), which today announced a corporate restructuring. Other natural gas companies also rose on speculation of a similar restructuring.
IBM (NYSE:IBM) reported earnings of $3.59 per share after the trading session, beating analysts’ estimates. It is trading down -1.96 percent in after-hours trading.
Citigroup (NYSE:C) announced losses of $0.33 per share this morning that met analysts’ expectations. It closed up 3.51 percent. Other big banks are mostly up, with the exception of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), which is trading down 0.92 percent.
Financials were up 1.18 percent today; however, a significant portion of the financial rally was by health insurance companies ahead of results of the Massachusetts Senate election.