Healthcare stocks rally after strong start to Q3

Stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings from UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson helped healthcare stocks rally Oct. 16; however, the sector remains one of the worst performing in the S&P 500 this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The third-quarter results of UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson beat analysts' expectations. Both companies raised their forecasts for the year.

The positive results provided a break for the sector, which has fared worse than nearly every other segment on the S&P 500, save for energy. Healthcare stocks have risen only 5.7 percent this year as political uncertainty weighs on investors. The entire index has seen a nearly 20 percent gain, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the rally Oct. 16, several managed care companies are down this year: Centene Corp. is off 22 percent; Cigna has fallen 16 percent; and Anthem is down 5.2 percent. With its gains Oct. 16, UnitedHealth's losses have shrunk to 4.2 percent for 2019.

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