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Dow Claws Out Another Record Finish

Dow Claws Out Another Record Finish

The stock market took an understandable pause after last week's last-gasp push to all-time highs. There was little concrete news Monday on the U.S.-China trade front -- the U.S. did grant Chinese telecom giant Huawei another 90-day license extension to do business with American companies, though the move was mostly expected. And while this week's retail-heavy earnings slate, which includes reports from Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT), will provide insight into the strength of the American consumer, most of the reporting doesn't kick off until Tuesday. Disney (DIS, +2.1%) continued its march into record-high territory following its Disney+ streaming service launch, however, and that helped the Dow finish with another record close, up 0.1% to 28,036. The Nasdaq (+0.1% to 8,549) celebrated new highs, too.

Also helping the Dow was UnitedHealth Group (UNH), which is making its own charge toward all-time highs. The stock has rallied 6.7% since Thursday's close, as analysts framed Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan as less troubling for health insurers than previously feared. Indeed, political uncertainty has been a major overhang across the entire health-care sector, but the stocks still warrant a place in most portfolios because of their long-term resilience. More aggressive investors can find growth in health care via biotech stocks, which are risky but potentially rich plays on medical breakthroughs. More conservative investors might instead appreciate the dividend-growth focus of these six health-care Dividend Aristocrats, or diversify their risk across the space via these half-dozen health-care funds. As we look forward to 2020, a number of health-care stocks stand out as potential winners, whether it's because of promising new treatments, game-changing acquisitions or just indifference to the swirling political winds.

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