U.S. equities closed higher on Tuesday, led by health care and real estate, as investors digested falling oil prices ahead of a key OPEC meeting, as well as economic data.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 25 points higher, with UnitedHealth Group contributing the most gains. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent, with health care and real estate rising about 0.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite outperformed, closing 0.2 percent higher and hitting a new intraday high of 5,403.86. The three major indexes traded lower earlier in the session.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday, as a post-election rally paused, with the major indexes dropping off from all-time high levels. The small-caps Russell 2000, which has been outperforming large-cap indexes, fell more than 1 percent, snapping a 15-day winning streak, its longest in 20 years.
"I think we're at a point where people are afraid of pushing the market too far off the fundamentals, but I don't think there are any news that could push the market markedly lower" in the near term, said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
West Texas Intermediate futures for January delivery dropped 3.9 percent to settle at $45.23 per barrel. OPEC are set to meet in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday and traders will be keeping a close eye on announcements regarding an oil production cut. In September, OPEC had outlined a deal to cut output by approximately 1 million barrels per day.