U.S. Stocks Supported by Solid Economic and Corporate News

The stock market rose on Thursday, helped by a strong reading on quarterly economic growth and by another round of positive earnings reports. Visa, which posted strong results, accounted for about 140 points of the 221-point gain in the Dow Jones industrial average.

Despite the bullish data and the Federal Reserve’s statement on Wednesday that the economy was strengthening, the gains on the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index were led by health care and utility stocks, which are considered defensive sectors.

Analysts cited purchases by mutual funds of the best performing stocks for the gain in those sectors, as funds close their books for the year at the end of this month. Health care and utilities are both up nearly 20 percent year to date.

NY Times

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