US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends just shy of record close; insurers climb

lunes 24 de febrero de 2014 17:47 GYT

* S&P 500 hits intraday record; Nasdaq climbs to 14-year high

* Insurance stocks rise after Humana comments

* Men's Wearhouse raises offer for Jos. A. Bank

* Dow up 0.6 pct; S&P 500 up 0.6 pct; Nasdaq up 0.7 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday and the S&P 500 hit a record intraday high, helped by gains in health insurers' shares and optimism about merger activity.

The Nasdaq reached a 14-year high, though all three indexes closed off their highs for the day, with the S&P 500 finishing less than a point away from its record closing high of 1,848.38.

Humana Inc and UnitedHealth Group ranked among the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers, with Humana's stock jumping 10.6 percent to $113.69 after it said the government's proposed cuts to the private Medicare program appeared to be less than it had forecast. UnitedHealth shares rose 3 percent to $76.01.

Aetna Inc rose 2 percent to close at $71.80 after giving a 2014 earnings outlook.   Continuación...