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UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), Alcoa Inc (AA), VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS): Who Sent The Dow (.DJI) Up?

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH)

Editor’s note: This article was originally published yesterday, post-market close.

In every bull market, there comes a time when nothing can seem to stop stocks from rising. It looks like we’re in that phase now, as the Dow Jones Industrials (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI) overcame an early morning decline to finish the day up 49 points. Both the Dow Jones Industrials (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI) and the S&P 500 set new record highs, and even on the world-stock front, strength on the economic front from China and Germany has helped send one global stock benchmark to a new five-year high despite the weakness in Europe. Basically, what we’ve seen is that in the absence of news to the contrary, the path of least resistance appears to be upward.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) was the biggest gainer in the Dow, rising more than 3%. With no important news concerning the company, it’s hard not to look back at the last time UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) rose for no explicable reason. Last month, the stock soared 3% late in the day, only to jump even further the next day when the federal government announced Medicare Advantage payment rates would unexpectedly rise rather than fall. So far, there’s nothing to suggest any similar bombshell is imminent, although a recent Wall Street upgrade of health insurers could be what’s creating some optimism about the sector.

Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) rose almost 3% as the international economic news benefited it more than many of the Dow Jones Industrials (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI)’s components. As the producer of a commodity metal, Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) needs conditions in the key markets it serves to improve. That makes it particularly sensitive to positive economic news throughout the world, and with the strategic moves Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) has made to try to get through the tough times, investors are hoping that better economic times will finally lift the stock out of its doldrums.

Outside the Dow Jones Industrials (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI), obesity drugmaker VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) soared almost 10% after releasing earnings this morning. Although its Qsymia diet pill didn’t sell well, with overall revenue of $4.1 million coming in well below analyst estimates, VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) said that it’s talking with larger pharma companies to try to find better ways to market and encourage more extensive use of the drug. With many short sellers betting against the stock, any good news from its strategic plans could lead to a squeeze that could produce even further gains.

The article These Stocks Sent the Dow Soaring Again originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Dan Caplinger.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH).

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