Health Care Insurance and Health Care REITs See Safety Trade During Market Panic

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On days when the main stock market indexes are trading sharply lower, it is interesting to see what stocks and sectors are trading higher on the day. The Dow Jones industrials were down 482 points (−1.8%) at 26,090 and the S&P 500 was down 50.13 points (−1.7%) at 2,890.12, but the health care insurers and some health care real estate investment trusts (REITs) were trading higher.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), which is winning from a potential opioid suit limitation, was last seen up 1.5% at $131.97 on Wednesday. Looking beyond J&J and gains from Edwards Lifesciences, Alexion and Regeneron, out of the S&P 500’s mere 27 stocks not trading with a loss, there were nine specific health insurers and health care facility REITs trading higher.

What is interesting here is that many of these health insurers have sold off handily from their highs as the growing worries about universal health insurance and other health care pricing issues have been large focal points for presidential candidates ahead of the 2020 elections. The moves higher also come on the day when presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has been the largest advocate of universal health care, has had two stents put in for arterial blockage and reportedly has canceled his upcoming events until further notice.

The go-to health care insurance stocks have been listed in order of the gains, with snapshots heading into the midday trading session. Consensus estimates and targets are from Refinitiv.

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) was last seen up 1.57% at $258.38. It has a 52-week range of $225.65 to $355.88, and the consensus price target is $331.68. The dividend yield is 0.9%.

Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC), which is classified under health care plans, was last seen trading up 1.124% at $43.28. It has a 52-week range of $41.62 to $74.49, and the consensus price target is $70.18.

Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) was trading up almost 1.2% at $241.26, and it has a 1.3% dividend yield. The 52-week range is $227.18 to $317.99, and the consensus price target is $338.39.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), the largest of the insurers and a member of the Dow, was up about 0.9% at $219.10. It has a 52-week range of $208.07 to $287.94, and the consensus price target is $291.71. The dividend yield is 2.0%.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG) was last seen up 0.6% at $260.13. The 52-week range is $220.63 to $321.52. The consensus analyst target is $313.31.

Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) was up 0.6% at $151.32. It has a 52-week range of $141.95 to $226.61, and the consensus analyst target is $213.60.

Health care facility REITs were also trading higher, and some of these have dividends that appear to be far more generous than what long-term Treasury notes and bonds currently offer.

Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) traded up 0.50% at $89.91, in a 52-week range of $60.93 to $92.50. The consensus price target is $88.97. The dividend yield is 3.9%.

HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP) was up over 0.3% at $35.83. It has a dividend yield of 4.1% and a 52-week range of $24.47 to $36.11. Its consensus price target is $35.28.

Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR) was trading up over 0.3% at $72.80 on Wednesday. It comes with a 4.3% yield, and its 52-week range is $51.80 to $75.40. The consensus target price is $71.49.


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