The healthcare sector remains one of the bigger focuses for investors, particularly in coming days as everyone anticipates the outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling on a case that could affect the future of the Affordable Care Act. It comes just as the major health insurers are considering big tie-ups (Anthem buying Cigna, Humana possibly being sold to Aetna or Cigna) that has heightened interest in one of the few sectors that’s expected to show reasonably solid earnings growth, something we’ll get more clues about in coming weeks.
The move by Roche to buy biotech company Intermune for $8.3 billion at a 38 percent premium isn’t going to make Janet Yellen happy, given her thoughts on the valuation of certain biotechnology and Internet retailing names. Still, with the Fed chair on board for low rates for some time given the slack situation in the labor market that the Fedsters keep talking about (basically, the unemployment rate, like the old grey mare, ain’t what she used to be), the long march to 2,000 on the S&P looks like it’s probably going to be over before long (it's been done on an intraday basis, and now we're just waiting on a close above that level), representing a tripling in that average in a bit more than five years and raising again all those questions about whether this all makes sense and if anyone cares anyway.
from Data Dive:
As enrollment starts to increase, the government has started using manual work-arounds for the various software errors that plague HealthCare.gov. About 365,000 people have signed up for private insurance in the last two months, and 5 million visited the site in the first week of December, according to Reuters.
from Jack Shafer:
At midweek, the Department of Health and Human Services released its report on the health plan choices and insurance premiums available under the Affordable Care Act, which opens for enrollment on Oct. 1 in 36 states.
from Stories I’d like to see:
1. The Times hits a home run in the Bronx:
This item comes under the category of stories I loved seeing. On Sunday the New York Times did a front pager (continued on two full pages inside) by veteran reporter William Glaberson on the collapse of the criminal courts in the Bronx that was about as close to perfection in execution and impact as journalism can get.