The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold President Obama’s healthcare overhaul has lasting ramifications that will be felt in every corner of American for years to come. But it hasn’t made much of a dent in healthcare stocks yet.
The Healthcare Select Sectors SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) fell only slightly today, dipping 1% – right in line with the S&P 500’s decline. The XLV is a benchmark exchange-traded fund for the healthcare sector, as its holdings include Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Merck & Company (NYSE: MRK) and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), among other large-cap healthcare stocks.
Results for those stocks were mixed after this morning’s Supreme Court ruling. Some fell about one percentage point; many of them didn’t budge.
The relatively modest impact the court’s decision had on healthcare stocks today shows that Wall Street had either already priced the results in either way – or that investors are simply focused on more pressing issues such as the European debt crisis and the slowing U.S. economy.
The approval of ObamaCare seemed to have an impact on one specific area of the healthcare industry, however: hospital stocks. HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA), Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA) and LifePoint Hospitals (Nasdaq: LPNT) were among the hospital stocks that made big moves today. HCA Holdings – the largest investor-owned hospital company in the country – led the way, up nearly 10%.
Major health insurers, on the other hand, didn’t respond well to the Supreme Court’s ruling. WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) was down 5%. Aetna (NYSE: AET) declined more than 3%.
But the major pharmaceutical companies were largely silent. Clearly the victory for ObamaCare didn’t do much for them.