Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose, putting the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on track for a seventh weekly advance, after the pace of hiring increased and drugmakers rallied on favorable decisions by European regulators.
Health-care stocks in the S&P 500 jumped 1.1 percent, led by Biogen Idec Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc. Time Warner Cable Inc. surged 7.6 percent on renewed takeover speculation. United Continental Holdings Inc. climbed 3.1 percent after billionaire David Tepper said his "big play in the market" is airlines. Ross Stores Inc. plunged 7.5 percent, the most in the S&P 500, after cutting its earnings forecast.
The S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent to 1,801.12 at 1:39 p.m. in New York. The U.S. equity benchmark is on pace to rise 0.2 percent this week for the longest winning streak since February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.27 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,021.26. Trading in S&P 500 shares was 9 percent below its 30-day average during this time of the day.
"I don’t see any reason why the market shouldn’t go up," Karyn Cavanaugh, a vice president and market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management in New York, said in a phone interview. Her firm oversees $196 billion. "There’s not really any bad news. We have a little bit of a pullback and then people jump in and say, ’Hey, I want a piece of this.’"
Tepper, the hedge-fund manager who runs Appaloosa Management LP, said stock markets are not inflated as economies in the U.S., Europe and China are on "firm ground." He said that while he remains bullish on U.S. stocks, markets may fall 5 percent to 10 percent when the Fed curbs its stimulus program.
"I know there’s talk about bubbles, this is not one," Tepper said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Stephanie Ruhle at the Robin Hood Investors Conference in New York yesterday.
Job openings in the U.S. climbed to a five-year high in September, indicating employers were confident about demand before the federal government shutdown. The report showed the number of people hired increased to 4.59 million in September, the most since August 2008, from 4.56 million. The hiring rate rose to 3.4 percent from 3.3 percent in August.
The S&P 500 rallied yesterday after three days of losses as data showed weekly jobless claims fell to the lowest level since September and a confidence survey indicated American consumers became less pessimistic this month. The Dow average has climbed 0.4 percent this week, headed for its seventh straight weekly gain, the longest streak since January 2011.