The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) rose higher by 89 points, or 0.61%, today, after positive factory orders data and a higher-than-expected Medicare reimbursement rate were announced this morning. The other two indexes also climbed but not quite as high as the blue-chip average. The Nasdaq managed to gain 0.48%, while the S&P 500 added 0.52% today.
The Commerce Department's report on factory orders indicated that increased orders for aircraft and automobiles helped pull the average higher, even though machinery and equipment performed poorly during the month of February. For more about the report and a few stocks it affected, click here.
Now let's dive into what stocks performed well this afternoon.
Shares of UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH ) boosted the Dow higher after jumping 4.7% today. The rise came as a result of the announcement that Medicare Advantage's reimbursements would be higher by 3.3% in coming years. This came after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services previously announced that reimbursement rates would fall 2.2%.
Other Dow components operating in the health-care industry also rose. Both Merck (NYSE: MRK ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) climbed more than 1%, precisely gaining 1.26% and 1.35%, respectively. Not only will the insurance companies realize higher revenues and, hopefully, larger profits due to the increased reimbursement rates, but the drug manufacturers should also see revenues at least remain level. The large drug providers usually have negotiated rates with Medicare and this is a sign that they may have the ability to contract higher prices.
Another big winner today was Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , whose shares jumped 1.94% after the company sold $2 billion worth of 10-year bonds at just 85 basis points over what 10-year Treasury notes are selling for. This is a great sign that the market believes in the long-term profitably of the company and should be encouraging to current shareholders.
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