US STOCKS-S&P 500 hits record, healthcare leads gains
* Biotech index up more than 2 pct
* U.S. producer inflation up but underlying trend muted
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct (Updates to afternoon, changes byline)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose in afternoon trading on Tuesday, lifting the S&P 500 to a record high as healthcare shares extended gains.
Actavis Plc, Gilead, Celgene and other biotech names were among the S&P 500's biggest drivers, a day after Allergan agreed to be bought by Actavis. The Nasdaq biotech index was up 2.2 percent.
The S&P health care index was up 1.4 percent, while shares of Actavis were up 7.7 percent, Gilead's rose 2.9 percent and shares of Celgene were up 2.4 percent. Helping Actavis were bullish analyst notes.
Further support for equities came from U.S. producer prices that kept intact a trend of benign inflation.
"Healthcare stocks are doing well, but not as a defensive play, and it is a positive that stock prices are strong and stocks are being used as currency," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston. Continuación...