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Stocks, buoyed by health sector, set another record high

Traders At The NYSE React To Malaysian Airliner Crash In UkraineTraders At The NYSE React To Malaysian Airliner Crash In Ukraine

A strong showing in the health care sector and positive economic news from overseas spurred the U.S. stock market to record heights once again on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 40 points, or 0.2%, to hit yet another record close of 17,688. UnitedHealth Group (UNH) was among the biggest gainers in the Dow Jones, rising 1.8%. Last week, the Dow Jones established three new record closes in just five days.

The S&P 500 also closed at a record high — the index’s fourth straight — rising 0.5% to 2,052 points. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite recovered the moderate losses the index suffered on Monday, gaining 0.7% to finish at 4,702 points. The Nasdaq remains at its highest levels since 2000.

In addition to UnitedHealth, other members of the health care sector to boost the market on Tuesday included Medtronic (MDT), which gained 4.7%. Actavis (ACT), which said yesterday that it plans to buy Botox-maker Allergan for $66 billion, got an 8.7% bump to its share price on Tuesday. Allergan (AGN), meanwhile, jumped 2.2% in the wake of the deal, which comes after months of the company fighting off the dual takeover attempt by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and activist investor Bill Ackman.

The market also received a shot in the arm from positive news out of Japan, where that country’s prime minister announced plans to delay a tax hike by 18 months as part of efforts to pull the country out of a recession.

The U.S. market is coming off four straight weeks of weekly gains, which was the market’s best four-week stretch since 2011.