Health care stocks rose with help from better-than-expected earnings from health care companies as investors look for defensive names should the economy falter.

The Health Care Select SPDR Fund rose 0.4%.

Intuitive Surgical posted a higher profit in the first quarter as the company's growth in procedures and its installed robotic surgery systems continued.

UnitedHealth Group rose 1.6% after its earnings beat Wall Street's expectations Thursday while companies alter investments toward firms that are more insulated from economic shifts or higher interest rates.

Write to Patrick Sullivan at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-19-24 1759ET