* U.S. trade deficit smallest in four years
* UnitedHealth gains on upgrade, Netflix slips on downgrade
* Indexes up: Dow 0.7 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 7 U.S. stocks rose Tuesday,
putting the S&P 500 on track for its first positive session of
2014 as equities rebounded following a three-day decline.
A declining U.S. trade deficit and upbeat German data added
to the market optimism as they pointed to strengthening economic
fundamentals in both the United States and Europe.
All 10 S&P sectors rose on the day, led by healthcare
, which advanced after Deutsche Bank upgraded
UnitedHealth Group Inc to "buy."
Shares of UnitedHealth, a Dow component, jumped 3.5 percent
to $76.85 while Tenet Healthcare climbed 4.1 percent to
$45.73 as the S&P's biggest percentage gainer.
The S&P's gains follow a three-day losing streak, which came
as traders took profits following 2013's massive rally which saw
the benchmark index surge nearly 30 percent.
"We're getting a nice little snapback following a pretty
soggy first couple of days, which created some anxiety because
some people think that sets the tone for the year," said
Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group
in New York.
"Volume and news remain light, but people expect this year
to be positive so the negative start probably got a bit
Data showed U.S. exports hit a record high in November,
while weak oil prices restrained import growth, resulting in the
smallest trade deficit in four years. German unemployment
unexpectedly fell in December on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 118.91
points, or 0.72 percent, at 16,544.01. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 11.56 points, or 0.63 percent, at 1,838.33.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 37.53 points, or 0.91
percent, at 4,151.21.
Economic activity may be hurt by a polar vortex - strong
upper-level winds in the Northern hemisphere that normally hover
over the polar region - that has been pushed south to envelop a
large part of the United States.
JPMorgan Chase & Co shares fell 1 percent to $58.43
after the company said it would pay a $1.7 billion penalty to
settle charges by U.S. federal authorities that the bank failed
to report suspicious activity relating to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi
Netflix Inc was one of the day's biggest decliners,
dropping 4.3 percent to $344.18 after Morgan Stanley downgraded
the stock to "underweight."
On the upside, Micron Tech rose 3.7 percent to $21.43
after Roth Capital raised its price target on the stock by $4 to
$25. The company is scheduled to release its quarterly results
after the market closes on Tuesday.
Intel Corp rose 1 percent to $25.71 a day after the
company showed off wearable computing devices on Monday,
including a smart headset and ear buds that monitor the wearer's
heart rate, as the world's largest chipmaker tries to get back
on track after missing out on smartphones.
In the pharma space, Neurocrine Biosciences soared
78 percent to $17.32 a day after it said its movement disorder
drug showed a reduction in symptoms compared with a placebo in a
mid-stage study; Stereotaxis jumped 21.8 percent to
$4.87 following completion of a clinical trial.
Janet Yellen made history on Monday as the U.S. Senate
confirmed her as the first woman to lead the U.S. Federal
Reserve in the central bank's 100-year history.
Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Boston, said he expects gross domestic product growth of about 3
percent this year and added that low inflation is a concern.