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Health Care Select Sect SPDR ETF (XLV)

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  • Dec. 11, 2013, 10:02 AM
    | Comment!
  • Dec. 8, 2013, 4:58 AM
    • The government's HealthCare.gov Web site for Obamacare was failing to accurately transmit around 10% of applications to insurers - as of Friday - although that represents a vast improvement on the error rate in October.
    • Still, up to 25% of the enrollment records for people who bought coverage in October and November could contain mistakes, raising doubts about whether those customers would be insured if the policies take effect from January 1, as scheduled.
    • Meanwhile, insurers are working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on a short-term back-up system that will enable the government to pay the firms for the income-based subsidies that many consumers qualify for under Obamacare.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 3 Comments
  • Dec. 2, 2013, 3:18 AM
    • The White House said yesterday that it has achieved its target of improving the HealthCare.gov Web site so that it works "smoothly for the vast majority of users."
    • Officially, the portal is now operating over 90% of the time vs 40% at some points in October, the loading time is much faster, the error rate has dropped to 0.75% from 6%, and the site can handle 50,000 users at the same time.
    • However, the latter claim hasn't been tested in the real world, and some in the government reportedly aren't certain the site will hold up.
    • The back-end systems continue to be a problem, with one result being that while some consumers believe they've bought coverage from insurers, the latter don't have any records of the transactions. One detail that the government didn't provide was how many people are completing all the enrollment steps.
    • The next deadline is the middle of this month, by which time consumers need to have signed up for coverage that starts on January 1.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 29, 2013, 5:21 AM
    • Tomorrow is the White House's self-imposed deadline for the federal HealthCare.gov Web site to be working properly for 80% of users.
    • However, "navigators" whose job it is to help people sign up say that problems persist. It's "kind of hit and miss," says one, although "there have definitely been more hits lately than in the past." The COO of Enroll Alaska rates the site 4/10.
    • Molina Healthcare (MOH) has expressed its support. "It is easier to navigate. It's working better. It's faster," Molina said.
    • More problems for the portal could lead to millions of Americans to decide to forego buying coverage and swallow the fine instead.
    • The participation of the young and healthy is particularly important to the success of the insurance exchanges.
    • Should the problems continue, the government might come under pressure to extend the March 31 deadline for open enrollment, a move that insurers have warned could undermine the market.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 21, 2013, 4:34 AM
    • President Barack Obama might have said that consumers will be allowed to keep canceled health-insurance policies for one more year, but at least five states - including New York and Washington - won't let such plans be reinstated, as they believe it would harm their exchanges.
    • Many carriers are also not allowing their customers to extend their old policies, due to time constraints and other obstacles. And those firms that may reverse the cancellations have said that premiums could rise.
    • Of the major players, Cigna (CI) could reinstate policies, while WellPoint (WLP) is analyzing the situation.
    • More on Obamacare.
    • Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, MOH, HUM, UNH
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 5 Comments
  • Nov. 14, 2013, 7:25 PM
    • Pres. Obama's administrative fix for health insurance cancellations may sound simple - allow insurers to extend their plans for another year - but it's anything but easy.
    • "Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers," says the head of the top insurer trade group. "Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace."
    • "The logistics of doing it with just a few days left in the policy year are extremely difficult," says a former CEO of Oklahoma's largest health system. The fix "shifts the blame and makes [the insurance companies] the culprits."
    • Aetna (AET) says it will need close cooperation from state insurance regulators to implement the fix.
    • Beyond the administrative burden, Citi analyst Carl McDonald says the change presents a risk of building a less healthy and less profitable pool of insurance buyers; the potential deterioration of the exchange market will pose a risk for WellPoint (WLP), Humana (HUM) and Health Net (HNT), which pursued aggressive exchange strategies for 2014.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 35 Comments
  • Nov. 12, 2013, 4:46 AM
    • Fewer than 50,000 people had managed to enroll in private insurance plans via the government's problem-plagued HealthCare.gov Web site as of last week. The number represents less than 10% of the 500,000 people that had been projected.
    • Twelve of the 14 states that are operating their own exchanges have signed up 49,000. The total is therefore also well below the initial target, which was 800,000. The Congressional Budget Office's prediction of 7M enrollments by March seems like a distant dream.
    • Major health insurers are so concerned that they want to be allowed to sign up those who are entitled to subsidies directly rather than via the federal system. However, the administration isn't keen, due to privacy concerns.
    • Insurers: Aetna (AET), WellPoint (WLP), UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Humana (HUM), Cigna (CI), Molina Healthcare (MOH).
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 2 Comments
  • Oct. 24, 2013, 3:54 PM
    • Healthcare is no longer the best performing sector of the year, MarketWatch's Wallace Witkowski notes.
    • The S&P 500 health care index fell slightly behind the consumer discretionary index today in terms of YTD returns (32% versus 32.5%).
    • Healthcare ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Comment!
  • Oct. 22, 2013, 1:25 PM
    • The mutual fund giant greatly boosts its ETF presence, rolling out 10 sector ETFs on Thursday, with BlackRock (BLK) - whose iShares has its own suite of sector ETFs - as the funds' sub-advisor. State Street (STT), though, is better-known for its sector offerings. Launching on Thursday - and popular existing State Street SPDR ETFs they'll be competing with:
    • Fidelity MSCI Consumer Staples Index ETF (FSTA) - XLP.
    • Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF (FDIS) - XLY.
    • Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (FENY) - XLE.
    • Fidelity MSCI Financials Index ETF (FNCL) - XLF.
    • Fidelity MSCI Health Care Index ETF (FHLC) - XLV.
    • Fidelity MSCI Industrials Index ETF (FIDU) - XLI.
    • Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF (FTEC) - XLK.
    • Fidelity MSCI Materials Index ETF (FMAT) - XLB.
    • Fidelity MSCI Telecommunications Services Index ETF (FCOM) - XTL.
    • Fidelity MSCI Utilities Index ETF (FUTY) - XLU.
    | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 20, 2013, 3:46 AM
    • Health-insurance exchanges have reportedly received 476,000 applications for coverage, White House officials have said, although they wouldn't say how many people have received coverage.
    • It's not certain whether the Obamacare program is on course to enroll 7M people within the six-month sign-up period, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office
    • The Web sites of the exchanges have been hit with numerous technical problems that have prevented people from buying coverage and caused health insurers to receive inaccurate information.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 3 Comments
  • Oct. 18, 2013, 4:36 AM
    • The technology problems afflicting the roll-out of health-insurance exchanges seem to be even worse than thought, with insurers saying that the marketplaces are generating incorrect information.
    • "Errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations," the WSJ writes.
    • The problems are damaging the ability of insurers to process even the small numbers of people who have signed up. "The longer this takes to resolve...the harder it will be to get people to (come back and) sign up," said Aetna (AET) CEO Mark Bertolini.
    • Other firms that could be affected include UnitedHealth (UNH), WellPoint (WLP), Humana (HUM) and Molina Healthcare (MOH).
    • The IT contractors involved include IBM (IBM), Infosys (INFY) and CGI Group (GIB).
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 11 Comments
  • Oct. 16, 2013, 3:21 PM
    • It's a good year for large-cap core mutual funds, with 46% beating the S&P 500 vs. a 10-year average of just 36%, according to Goldman Sachs.
    • The study finds most are overweight health care (XLV), which not coincidentally happens to be the best-performing sector this year, up 30%.
    • The funds are most underweight utilities (XLU), which just happen to be the second worst-performing sector YTD, up 10%. Only telecoms have done worse.
    • Chasing performance? May be, but the team finds the funds have tended to be present in the good performers for the last 12 months, and have retreated from discretionary stocks (XLY) of late despite their outperformance.
    • Individual names? CVS Caremark (CVS), JPMorgan (JPM), and Cisco (CSCO) are the stocks liked the most vs. the benchmark.
    • Health care ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    • Utility ETFs: IDU, PUI, XLU, VPU, RYU, FXU, PSCU, UPW, SDP, UTLT.
    | Comment!
  • Oct. 13, 2013, 2:59 AM
    • California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have limited the use of biosimilar pharmaceuticals in the state.
    • Brown explained that the legislation was premature, as the FDA hasn't yet set the rules governing such drugs.
    • Biosimilars are the copycat versions of biotech drugs - also known as biologics - which are complex proteins developed in living cells. Biosimilars are not called generics, as it's difficult to prove that they're exactly the same as the biologic original.
    • The campaign to limit the use of biosimilars has been led by Amgen (AMGN) and Genentech (RHHBY.OB); so far, 10 states have blocked such efforts this year, including Illinois and Texas.
    • Companies developing biosimilars include Hospira (HSP), Novartis (NVS), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), Baxter (BAX) and Teva (TEVA).
    • Healthcare ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
    | Comment!
  • Oct. 2, 2013, 4:07 AM
    • Millions of people visited the Web sites of health-insurance exchanges yesterday on their first day of operations, although, as expected, many of the sites were beset by technical glitches.
    • It's unclear how much of the traffic translated into sales - Connecticut's site received 28,000 hits as of 4 pm but only 167 people had applied to buy insurance.
    • The exchanges have been created as a key part of Obamacare.
    • Health insurers that are selling plans on exchanges include UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), WellPoint (WLP), Health Net (HNT) and Humana (HUM). Molina Healthcare (MOH) is also playing a role.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 29, 2013, 1:50 AM
    • While the health exchanges that are a key part of Obamacare are due to open for business on Tuesday, some states won't be able to offer full functionality at first because of IT problems.
    • The states include New York, Oregon and Colorado, as well as the District of Columbia.
    • In addition, the Obamacare Spanish-language Internet site won't be ready, while small businesses and their staff won't be able to sign up for weeks.
    • The contractors involved include IBM (IBM) and Infosys (INFY)
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 17 Comments
  • Sep. 25, 2013, 3:08 AM
    • The average cost of a mid-tier health insurance plan under Obamacare is $328 a month, price data from the government showed yesterday, just a week before enrollment in the healthcare overhaul is due to begin on October 1.
    • As you'd expect, prices were cheaper in the states with more competition.
    • The Obama administration hopes to sign up 7M consumers in the first year, with 2.7M young and healthy Americans set to pay for those who are older and sicker. The average premium for a 27-year-old nonsmoker will range from $163-$240 a month.
    • Health insurers that intend to sell plans on some exchanges include UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), WellPoint (WLP) and Humana (HUM). Molina Healthcare (MOH) is also set to play a role.
    • ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.
    | 8 Comments
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XLV Description
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR® Fund, before expenses, seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the Health Care Select Sector Index. Our approach is designed to provide portfolios with low portfolio turnover, accurate tracking, and lower costs.
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Sector: Healthcare
Country: United States
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