Aflac, Danaher, United Healthgroup: Not Everyone is Roughing It

Includes: AFL, DHR, UNH
by: Eddy Elfenbein

Perhaps it’s me, but I seem hear a lot of commentators speaking as if the market were going through some great reckoning; as if years of wild speculation is finally being punished. Sure, folks who owned Citigroup (NYSE:C) or Countrywide (CFC) or Fannie Mae (FNM) are going through rough times, but that’s hardly true for the market as a whole.

Including dividends, the S&P 500 is up 8% for the year. That’s about spot on for the historical average. We’re only 3.5% off the all-time high reached two months ago. Swing by your local bank and see if you can find an 8% CD.

I also see that UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) finally made a new 52-week high. The stock is above $58 for the first time since March 2006. What took it so long? UNH generates two things, huge profits and awful headlines. Investors, apparently, only pay attention to one. Just a few weeks ago, UNH said it was projecting EPS for 2008 of $3.95 to $4. This isn’t buried news—it’s public information, yet it’s taking a long time to sink in.

A Banc of America analyst just initiated coverage of Danaher (NYSE:DHR) with a buy rating, a $100 price target and he called it his top buy in the sector.

Lastly, here’s a great look at AFLAC (NYSE:AFL) from Standard & Poor's.