By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, led by gains in healthcare shares, and Boeing edged upward even as the United States joined other nations in grounding the company’s 737 MAX jets.
Boeing Co shares ended up 0.5 percent at $377.14, recovering from a more than 3 percent fall in the afternoon, when the United States announced it was grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX jets following Sunday’s fatal crash in Ethiopia.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration cited new satellite data and evidence from the scene of Sunday’s crash, the second disaster involving the 737 MAX in less than five months.
The grounding gives Boeing time to address any problems and not face another potential disaster, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
“It seems like the worst is over for Boeing,” he said. “The fact that (the stock) appears to be stabilizing means the market appreciates that.”
Boeing shares are still down about 11 percent since Friday’s close. The world’s largest planemaker had been the best-performing Dow component this year.
Also helping stocks Wednesday, fresh economic data strengthened the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes.
Producer prices barely rose in February, resulting in the smallest annual increase in more than 1-1/2 years, yet another indication of benign inflation.
CVS Health Corp rose 3.5 percent after Bernstein started coverage of the pharmacy benefit manager with an “outperform” rating. The S&P 500 healthcare index rose 1.1 percent. UnitedHealth Group shares rose 2.6 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 148.23 points, or 0.58 percent, to 25,702.89, the S&P 500 gained 19.4 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,810.92 and the Nasdaq Composite added 52.37 points, or 0.69 percent, to 7,643.41.
Energy shares rose as oil prices rallied about 2 percent. The S&P 500 energy index finished up 1.09 percent.
Adding to the upbeat mood was a vote in which British lawmakers rejected leaving the European Union without a deal in any scenario.
Fueling some volatility in afternoon trading, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was in no rush to complete a trade deal with China and insisted that any deal include how it treats U.S. intellectual property.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.43-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.62-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 61 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 65 new highs and 30 new lows.
About 7.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 7.4 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days.
(Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Tom Brown and Diane Craft)