Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

UnitedHealth Group Leads the Dow Higher

By Travis Hoium - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:33PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Health insurers push stocks higher.

Most stocks have moved in trading today after the Department of Commerce reported a 3% rise in factory orders in February. As of 3:25 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.34%) is up 0.47%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC 2.02%) has gained 0.4%. Interestingly, gains weren't spread evenly among stocks today, and there were some wild moves from some of the largest companies on the market.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH 0.68%) is up 4.8% today, leading the Dow higher. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pulled a 180 today, announcing an increase in Medicare Advantage reimbursements of 3.3%. The initial proposal was for a 2.2% cut, which made insurers lobby for higher rates, even threatening to drop coverage. The lobbying worked, and UnitedHealth is one of many medical insurers that have made significantly gains today.

Home Depot (HD 1.68%) is second on the Dow, gaining 1.6% so far today. The company sold $2 billion of bonds to help fund a $17 billion share buyback program which the company authorized in February. The bonds due 2023 were sold at just 85 basis points over similar treasuries, which is a great price for a company adding leverage and sending money back to shareholders.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 5.62%) is the big loser on the Dow today, plummeting 5.5%. Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to "sell," citing excessive optimism priced into the stock right now. PC sales slowed rapidly toward the end of 2012, but recent data showing a rise in PC sales has given the market hope for the PC market and driven recent gains at HP. The stock is still a risky bet for investors, and I'd wait to see a solid turnaround in sales and profits before buying in, because even an analyst downgrade can sink the stock in the short term.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$32,654.59 (1.34%) $431.17
HP Inc. Stock Quote
HP Inc.
HPQ
$39.62 (5.62%) $2.11
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Stock Quote
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated
UNH
$492.53 (0.68%) $3.31
The Home Depot, Inc. Stock Quote
The Home Depot, Inc.
HD
$300.95 (1.68%) $4.96
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,088.85 (2.02%) $80.84

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
338%
 
S&P 500 Returns
119%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/18/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.