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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
March 21, 2014
11:30 EDTCI, ESRX, CNC, MOH, WLPAnalyst sees Express Scripts benefiting from WellPoint member growth
After health insurer WellPoint (WLP) estimated that the number of people using its health insurance would rise by 1M-1.3M this year, Citigroup expects Express scripts to benefit from the increase. WHAT'S NEW: WellPoint announced that it expects its medical member base to rise by 1M-1.3M in 2014. The company also increased its 2014 earnings per share guidance to at least $8.20 per share, up from $8. In a note to investors earlier today, Citigroup analyst Garen Sarafian wrote that WellPoint had increased the outlook for its medical membership base from previous levels and that the insurer now predicts that the number of its medical members will rise by 3%-4% in 2014. Express Scripts, which provides pharmacy benefit management services for WellPoint, obtained over 12% of its 2013 revenue from WellPoint, the analyst stated. WellPoint's stronger than expected growth could lift Express Script's 2014 earnings per share by up to 7c, wrote Sarafian. He kept a $92 price target and Buy rating on Express Script. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Express Scripts lost 0,4% to $77.65 and WellPoint added 0.7% to $100.45. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Other health insurers are rising in the wake of WellPoint's announcement, with Centene (CNC), Cigna (CI), and Molina (MOH) all higher by about 1%.
News For ESRX;WLP;CNC;CI;MOH From The Last 14 Days
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April 17, 2015
08:04 EDTCNCCentene's Nurtur receives full URAC accreditation
Centene announced that Nurtur, its health and wellness subsidiary, received full Disease Management Accreditation from URAC, a Washington, DC-based healthcare accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the healthcare industry.
April 15, 2015
11:51 EDTESRXExpress Scripts down 2% as Walgreens speaks at analyst day
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April 13, 2015
10:58 EDTMOH, CNC, CICigna, Humana seen as potential takeover targets in Managed Care space
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07:33 EDTMOH, CNC, CIJefferies sees low probability of WellCare, Centene buyouts
After running several acquisition scenarios for the Managed Care space, Jefferies says potential takeovers of WellCare (WCG) and Centene (CNC) are "hard to justify." The firm estimates acquirers will only be able to generate 1%-3% accretion from buying either company at a 20% premium to current share prices. The deal that makes the most financial sense is Aetna (AET) buying Cigna (CI), Jefferies says today in a note to investors. Also financially attractive would be a buyout of Humana (HUM) by either Anthem (ANTM) or Aetna, the firm adds. After analyzing the Managed Care space, it upgraded this morning shares of UnitedHealth (UNH) to Buy from Hold with a $141 price target. Jefferies also has Buy ratings on Aetna, Anthem, Health Net (HNT) and Molina Healthcare (MOH).
April 9, 2015
14:15 EDTESRXExpress Scripts calls active on elevated volatility on sharp rally
Express Scripts April weekly 87 and April 90 calls are active on total call volume of 20K (2K puts). April weekly call option implied volatility is at 38, April is at 26, May is at 30, June is at 25; compared to its 26-week average of 22 according to Track Data, suggesting large near term price movement.
09:21 EDTCICatamaran said to be likley to keep Cigna contract, CT Financial News reports
Brain Tanquilut, senior VP, Healthcare Services Equity Research at Jefferies, believes there is "precedent out there that suggests Catamaran’s (CTRX) contract with Cigna (CI) "is safe” despite UnitedHealth's (UNH) recent deal to buy the pharmacy benefits manager, according to CT Financial News. Reference Link
April 7, 2015
10:23 EDTCIMedicare Advantage 2016 rates set above expectations
The U.S. yesterday announced higher than expected 2016 Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates. The news is seen as benefiting managed care companies with large exposure to the Medicare Advantage program. WHAT'S NEW: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, yesterday afternoon announced that Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates would rise 1.25% in 2016 from 2015 levels. In February, CMS proposed a 0.95% reduction in Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates for 2016. This year, reimbursement rates have fallen 4%. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Humana (HUM) said this morning in a regulatory filing that based on its review of the Final Rate Notice, the company expects an average Medicare Advantage funding increase for its business of approximately 0.8% from CMS for 2016, versus a funding decline of 1.25%-1.75% previously expected based on the Advance Notice. Humana’s estimated year-over-year funding increase as it affects the company is projected to be less than the CMS estimate for the MA program primarily due to Humana’s view of the projected impact associated with CMS’ 2016 adjustment to the risk model calculation, the company explained. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors earlier today, Deutsche Bank analyst Scott Fidel wrote that this is the first time in seven years that CMS has implemented an increase in Medicare Advantage rates. However, noting that CMS said it had raised its estimates for Medicare costs, Fidel added that this forecast tempered the positive outlook created by the reimbursement increase. The analyst kept Buy ratings on the following stocks in the sector: Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM), Cigna (CI), Magellan Health (MGLN), and UnitedHealth (UNH). Stifel analysts said that the results were modestly better than expected, except for the agency's decision not to make a Star rating adjustment for plans with certain higher acuity populations. The firm thinks that more diversified managed care companies with Medicare Advantage products could be boosted by CMS' decision, identifying Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth as being among the companies in that category. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Aetna was little changed at $107.40, Anthem was flat near $155 per share, Cigna slipped 0.4% to $131.34, Magellan was flat at $71, UnitedHealth added 0.5% to $118.31 and Humana gained fractionally to $178.54.
08:20 EDTCICowen expects managed care stocks to outperform following CMS release
Cowen expects managed care stocks to outperform today following the CMS release outlining better than expected Medicare Advantage rates for 2016. The firm also sees improved FFS growth rates, maintained coding intensity adjustment, and continued HRA payments. Publicly traded companies in the space include Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Health Net (HNT), Humana (HUM), and WellCare (WCG).
07:57 EDTCIManaged care companies likely to rise on CMS news, says Oppenheimer
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07:41 EDTCI2016 MA rates positive for first time in seven years, says Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank notes that for the first time since 2009, Medicare Advantage rates will be positive after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday that final 2016 rates will rise by 1.25%, representing a 220 basis points favorable swing from the preliminary proposed cut of 0.95%. Deutsche says the positive surprise is "somewhat tempered" by the more cautious view on Medicare cost trends provided by the CMS actuaries in the final 2016 rate announcement. The firm expects Humana (HUM), Health Net (HNT) and UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET) and Anthem (ANTM) to experience Medicare Advantage rate increases.
07:39 EDTMOHSome managed care stocks could be pressured by CMS decision, says Stifel
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April 6, 2015
07:57 EDTCNC, ESRX, MOH, CILeerink healthcare services analyst holds analyst/industry conference call
Healthcare Services Analyst Gupte discusses the leverage Anthem likely has in its Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) contract with Express Scripts and how it changes after the Catamaran-Optum Rx deal, the synergy potential for the deal between Catamaran and Optum Rx and the likelihood of Cigna-HS remaining with the newly merged Optum Rx-CTRX on an Analyst/Industry conference call to be held on April 6 at 2 pm.

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