Last week, Cyprus was causing headaches. Alas, today it was a driving force behind Wall Street euphoria, as the Mediterranean country now has until 2017 to get its fiscal woes straightened out. Taking a cue from European equities, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) added 89 points, or 0.6%, to end at 14,662, an all-time record close.
Far and away the best-performing blue chip, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH ) jumped 4.7% as widespread gains in health care providers also contributed to today's bullish market. Companies like UnitedHealth that offer Medicare Advantage plans will be reimbursed by the government at much higher rates than analysts expected, news that investors heartily cheered today -- health care ended Tuesday as the best-performing sector this year.
Just a day after a key executive announced his departure, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) shares cratered 5.2% lower to register as the worst performer for the second day in a row. The pessimism today stemmed from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) , which downgraded the stock, claiming the company won't be able to live up to earnings expectations.
Having fallen 10% in the past five trading days, Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA ) shares took a hit today but rose big after hours after a top Zynga executive announced his departure from the company following a disappointing year of mobile investments and performance. Not only will the game developer refresh its mobile look, but Zynga is also set to launch its first real-money betting services in the U.K. this week.
Lastly, U.S. carmaker Ford (NYSE: F ) rose nearly 1% after showing signs of renewed vitality in its business. Auto companies and the real estate market -- two areas that took severe hits in the recession – are now staging legitimate comebacks. Today, Ford announced its best month of sales in more than five years, spurred by the popularity of its trucks and SUVs.
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