After a bullish start to 2018, stock prices for the top health insurance companies are up year-over-year, but in the midst of a difficult week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) slipped 1,597 points Monday—the largest intraday point slide in stock market history—before finishing the day down 1,175 points, marking the worst single-day percentage decline since 2011.
Healthcare stocks slid as well, following widespread sell-off activity to end last week. The sudden drop follows an impressive rally throughout 2017 and a healthy performance to start 2018.
The five major health insurers—UnitedHealth Group, Cigna Corp., Anthem Inc., Aetna Inc., and Humana Inc.—all saw a significant decline in stock value Monday afternoon as the DJIA declined rapidly during late-day trading before recovering at the closing bell.
UnitedHealth took the biggest hit of all five insurers, falling by 5.12% after spending the early part of the day in the green. This decline follows last week’s massive sell-off that sent stock prices tumbling into the weekend. All five insurers have seen a drop in value over the past five days.
The end-of-week sell-off was predated by the Amazon–JPMorgan Chase–Berkshire Hathaway announcement last Tuesday that the three powerful companies planned to form a nonprofit healthcare company. The DJIA fell 240 points at the opening bell on the news, while all five insurers saw share value decrease throughout the day.
Despite the recent market slide, the larger economic trend has been friendly to the major insurers over the past year. All five have shown significant development year-over-year, well in line with the market’s 100-day and 200-day growth trends.
Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.