* Oil prices fall, pressure energy shares
* Healthcare gains; UnitedHealth jumps on forecast
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 500 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct
(Adds valuation details, paragraph 6)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Nov 29 U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday as an
upbeat outlook from UnitedHealth lifted health insurers, though
a sharp drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares and limited
The day's small gains followed a decline in the market on
Monday. Analysts said the post-U.S. election rally may be losing
momentum, wit the S&P 500 now up roughly 8 percent for the year
Wall Street has risen sharply following Donald Trump's White
House win, helped in part by investor expectations that his
plans to increase infrastructure spending, cut corporate taxes
and reduce regulation will boost the economy.
"The Trump rally seems to have stalled out to some extent,
and I think it's stalled because we're starting to run into
valuation concerns," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer
of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.
"He's given some extra life to the recovery and the bull
market, but not a lot."
The forward price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P 500 is at
17.2 versus its long-term average PE ratio of about 15, Thomson
Reuters data shows.
The healthcare index led gains in the S&P 500,
rising 0.7 percent. Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc,
the largest U.S. health insurer, were up 3.6 percent and hit a
record intraday high a day after the company issued a
better-than-expected earnings forecast for the coming year.
Other insurers also gained, including Aetna, up 2.8
Other major gainers among health stocks were AbbVie
, which rose 3.6 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.7 points, or
0.12 percent, to 19,121.6, while the S&P 500 gained 2.94
points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,204.66.
The Nasdaq Composite added 11.11 points, or 0.21
percent, to end at 5,379.92, after hitting a record intraday
U.S. stocks had their worst performance in nearly a month on
Monday after hitting record highs last week.
Also helping to boost sentiment on Tuesday was data that
showed the U.S. economy grew more quickly than initially thought
in the third quarter for its best performance in two years.
But a slide in oil prices helped weigh on the S&P energy
index, which fell 1.2 percent.
Oil prices dropped about 4 percent on signs that leading oil
exporters were struggling to agree on a deal to cut production
ahead of an OPEC meeting on Wednesday.
Shares of Tiffany rose 3.1 percent to $80.60 after
the jewelry company reported its first rise in sales in eight
Investors will be watching data from retailers closely in
the coming weeks for clues on how the holiday shopping season
will turn out.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.05-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 177 new highs and 29 new lows.
About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,
compared with the 7.8 billion daily average for the past 20
trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio
D'Souza and Dan Grebler)