March 22nd, 2010
05:33 PM ET

Stocks gain as health care shares lead the way

A look at highlights from the day's business news: 

Dow at 18-month high

Stocks gained Monday, with health care shares leading the way, as Congressional approval of a sweeping reform bill removed the uncertainty that has surrounded its passage for months.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44 points, or 0.4 percent, ending at a fresh-18-month high. The S&P 500 index gained 6 points, or 0.5 percent and closed just shy of an 18-month high hit last week. The Nasdaq composite gained 21 points, or 0.9 percent, closing at a more than 18-month high.   

Stocks fell in the first minutes of the session on renewed questions about Greece's ability to repay its debt. But the market soon erased losses and turned higher as investors began snapping up biotech, health care provider and hospital sector stocks in the wake of the House of Representatives' approval of the health care bill.

Dollar pares gains

The dollar pared earlier gains Monday as stocks rebounded and investors awaited the European Union summit later in the week.

What prices are doing: The dollar fell 0.17 percent versus the euro to $1.3552 and dropped 0.55 percent against the British pound to $1.5096. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar slid 0.4 to ¥90.15.

At the end of last week, the dollar rose against major currencies as investors continued to worry about finding a solution for Greece's debt. The buck had fallen earlier that week after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady near zero percent.

What's moving the market: The dollar lost ground Monday as stocks gained following the House vote to approve health care reform.

Treasurys rise after health care bill passes

U.S. debt prices rose Monday, after the House passed a historic health care bill the previous evening.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note rose 9/32 to 99-23/32 and its yield fell to 3.664 percent. The 30-year bond rose 4/32 to 100-27/32 and its yield fell to 4.63 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 2-year note rose 1/32 to 99-26/32 with a yield of 0.98 percent. The 5-year note rose 8/32 to 99-27/32 with a yield of 2.41 percent.

What's moving the market: Buzz surrounding the House's passage of a $940 billion health care bill weighed on stocks in the first minutes of Monday trading, but equities recovered soon after. By mid-day trading, stocks had turned higher, led by gains in health care shares.

Oil creeps above $81

Oil rose on Monday as the dollar slid and stock market gains nullified earlier fears about interest rate hikes.       

What prices are doing: Prices for April crude oil contracts, which expire on Monday, inched up 61 cents to settle at $81.29 a barrel. May crude climbed 72 cents to settle at $81.69 a barrel.       

What's moving the market: After an unexpected rate hike from India's central bank spooked investors and sent oil prices plummeting, prices rebounded on a rising stock market and decline in the dollar against the euro.

CNNMoney reporters Alexandra Twin, Blake Ellis, Annalyn Censky and Chavon Sutton contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Rev M. H. Talbot

    Of course insurance stock went up now it's buy it not mater what they charge or get fined!

    March 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tanygeo01

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    June 24, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |