* Nasdaq hits record high; S&P closes in on record
* Oil prices fall nearly 4 pct ahead of OPEC meeting
* Healthcare gains; UnitedHealth hits record on forecast
* Tiffany rises on first sales increase in 8 quarters
* Indexes up: Dow 0.14 pct, S&P 0.24 pct, Nasdaq 0.50 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan
Nov 29 Wall Street shrugged off a slide in oil
prices on Tuesday to move higher in early afternoon trading,
with the Nasdaq hitting a record high, boosted by healthcare
stocks and strong economic data.
The S&P energy index dropped 1.52 percent, leading
the decliners among the 11 major S&P sectors. The healthcare
index's 0.84 percent gain, led the eight advancers.
Boosting the health sector was UnitedHealth's near 4
percent rise to a record high after the largest U.S. health
insurer's upbeat forecast. Other insurers also
Other major gainers among health stocks were AbbVie
, which was up 3.5 percent, and Clegene, which
rose 2 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech index was up 0.56
Also helping boost sentiment was data that showed the U.S.
economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter,
notching its best performance in two years.
Gross domestic product increased at a 3.2 percent annual
rate instead of the previously reported 2.9 percent pace, the
Commerce Department said in its second GDP estimate.
A Conference Board report showed its consumer sentiment
index surged in November, climbing back to pre-recession levels.
At 12:35 p.m. ET (1735 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 26.06 points, or 0.14 percent, at 19,123.96.
The S&P 500 was up 5.21 points, or 0.24 percent, at
2,206.93, about 7 points away from its record.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 26.85 points, or 0.5
percent, at 5,395.66. It had hit a record of 5403.86.
The gains were tempered by a sharp fall in oil prices that
weighed on energy shares.
Oil fell nearly 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.
All but two of the S&P energy sector's components were in
the red. Chevron declined 1.5 percent and Exxon
slipped 0.8 percent.
"You're seeing oil, both in terms of the physical commodity
as well as energy equities, under pressure today and this is on
the back of increased skepticism surrounding the likelihood of
OPEC reaching any type of consensus tomorrow," said Marcelle
Daher, co-head of North American asset allocation at John
Hancock Financial Services.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday in their worst showing in
nearly a month as investors booked profits on the heels of a
Wall Street has rallied since Donald Trump's victory in the
presidential election as investors expect his plans to increase
infrastructure spending, cut corporate taxes and reduce
regulation to boost the economy.
Tiffany was up 4.2 percent at $81.58, making it the
second biggest percentage gainer on the S&P, after the jeweler
reported its first rise in sales in eight quarters.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,456
to 1,412. On the Nasdaq, 1,445 issues rose and 1,294 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 21 new 52-week highs and no new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 128 new highs and 18 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty
and Savio D'Souza)