Sector to Watch: Healthcare Print
By Jeremy Pherb   
Saturday, 20 June 2009 02:23

Health insurance stocks are climbing and finally offsetting the

losses posted earlier this month.

The strength in the

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health insurance sector is reflected by the
4.9 percent gain currently being shown by the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index. The index is moving further off the one-month closing low that it set on Monday.

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Even Bloomberg News took notice of the sector on Friday:

"Health care continues to do well on the premise all the legislation priced into the market won't be as bad or as timely as we thought it was going to be," said Burt White, chief investment officer for LPL Financial.

Uncertainty about the outcome of the government's efforts to reform the health care system has contributed to the recent volatility in the health insurance sector.

House Republicans outlined their health care reform plan Wednesday, insisting that reforms proposed by Democrats will "make health care more expensive, raise taxes, ration care, and empower bureaucrats to make key medical decisions instead of patients and doctors."

The Republican plan proposes to extend tax savings to those who currently do not have employer-provided insurance but purchase health insurance on their own.

This provision, House Republicans say, will provide an "above the line" deduction that is equal to the cost of an individual's or family's insurance premiums.

Among health care stocks, Santarus, Inc.(NASDAQ:SNTS) was up  $2.98 +0.36 (13.74%), Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc.(NASDAQ:CRTX) rose to $9.65 +1.15 (13.53%)  and Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) closed at $4.26 after rising +0.49 (13.00%) .

Dow components Merck and Pfizer gained more than 2.5% each.

Here are Friday, June 20, 2009's movers in the healthcare sector:

Gainers (% price change) Last Trade Change Mkt Cap
Santarus, Inc. SNTS 2.98 +0.36 (13.74%) 172.39M
Cornerstone Therapeutics CRTX 9.65 +1.15 (13.53%) 120.62M
Orexigen Therapeutics OREX 4.26 +0.49 (13.00%) 147.66M
America Service Group Inc ASGR 15.63 +1.64 (11.72%) 145.25M
MWI Veterinary Supply MWIV 33.13 +3.12 (10.40%) 401.46M

Losers (% price change)
Chindex Intl., Inc. CHDX 11.63 -1.42 (-10.88%) 169.97M
Pharmaxis Ltd. (ADR) PXSL 30.03 -2.97 (-9.00%) 429.50M
Enzo Biochem, Inc. ENZ 4.36 -0.39 (-8.21%) 163.42M
NightHawk Radiology Hldgs NHWK 3.99 -0.30 (-6.99%) 105.67M
Poniard Pharmaceuticals PARD 4.55 -0.30 (-6.19%) 157.91M

Most Actives (dollar volume)
Pfizer Inc. PFE 15.00 +0.08 (0.54%) 101.22B
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 56.09 +0.30 (0.54%) 154.56B
Amgen, Inc. AMGN 52.34 -0.69 (-1.30%) 52.99B
Wyeth WYE 44.95 +0.11 (0.25%) 59.94B
Merck & Co., Inc. MRK 25.91 +0.26 (1.01%) 54.64B

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