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Merck (MRK -1.3%) gets no love today from the FDA's approval of Liptruxet late Friday, as the stock is likely dragged down with the rest of the big pharma names on the back of a CNBC report that criticizes their earnings so far. The article points to the fact that pharmaceutical companies have seen a 4.7% contraction in earnings, and a 3.2% drop in revenue this quarter. Why? Morningstar's Damien Cover says there are two primary reasons: FX impact, especially from the yen, and intensified generic competition from patent losses.
Healthcare and biotech ETFs continue to churn higher again today, hitting new 52-week highs across the board: Health Care SPDR (XLV +1%), Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT +0.9%), iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare (IYH +0.9%),. Biotech ETF iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (IBB +1.3%).
It's not just Humana (-9.6%) suffering from prospective declines in reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage plans in 2014, with UnitedHealth (UNH) -5.2%, Cigna (CI) -5.5%, Aetna (AET) -3.5% and Universal America (UAM) -8.95%.
Health insurers take a pummeling after Wellpoint's (WLP -12%) miserable Q2 report, even though some analysts say that the company has specific challenges. Citigroup's Carl McDonald reckons management could come under pressure. Still, HealthNet (HNT) -10%, UnitedHealth (UNH) -5.6%, Coventry (CVH) -4.9%, Humana (HUM) -3%, Cigna (CI) -3.9% and Aetna (AET) -4.9%.
Pharmaceutical stocks are down following the Supreme Court healthcare opinion, although not dramatically: AZN -0.4%, GSK -1.6%, SNY -0.8%, PFE -0.8%, ABT -0.8%, MRK -0.7%, LLY -1%, WPI -0.9%, NVS -0.7%, JNJ -0.4%. iShares Dow Jones US Healthcare ETF (IYH) -0.95%, the Health Care SPDR (XLV) is -1.3%.
Hospital operators are soaring following the Supreme Court opinion validating most of the Healthcare Act, although they're down from intial highs. HCA +6.5%, CYH +7.9%, UHS +2.85%, THC +6.9%, LPNT +4.4%.
Molina Healthcare (MOH +4.4%) catches a bounce as Merrill says Texas will contract with incumbent Medicaid HMO providers for "dual eligible" individuals. Notable calls says it's good news for the big players in Texas (MOH, CNC, AGP), and suggests the news from Ohio - which caused a drubbing this week - could be an isolated data point.
The DJIA pokes its head into the green after being down nearly 100 points earlier. The S&P 500 (-0.3%) and Nasdaq (-0.3%) remain slightly negative. Leading on the upside are the health insurers as analysts conclude it's bullish if the Obamacare mandate is struck down and bullish if it's upheld. Sweet!