Market Movers: Aetna, ATA, Tenet Healthcare, World Acceptance Corp.

Stock Markets

The U.S. stock markets fluctuated and ended the trading session lower on Thursday as the deadlock on the debt negotiations between Greece and Eurozone finance ministers continue.

The decline of equities in the energy sector also negative impacted the stock markets today after crude oil prices dropped below $60 per barrel. On the other hand, the stock price of healthcare companies climbed propelled by the decision of the Suprement Court in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

Supreme Court ruled in favor of Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court upheld a critical part of the Affordable Care Act in a 6-3 decision, which allowed millions of Americans who got insurance coverage in marketplaces will remain covered wherever they live.

In the majority opion of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health markets, not to destroy them.”

“Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, healthcare is not a privilege for a few but a right for all. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” said President Barack Obama.

Greece debt negotiation remains in a deadlock

Meanwhile, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel commented that the debt negotiation with Greece is not going anywhere. She said, “We still haven’t made the necessary progress; in some places it looks like we’re even going backwards.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still expecting Greece to repay $1.7 billion due on Tuesday.  The lender strongle rejected the economic measures submitted by the Greek government earlier this week in exchange for a financial aid.  The IMF is concerned that Greece’s proposed economic measures, which are more focused on tax could only worsen the weakness of its economy.

Commenting the issue, Bill Stome, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management told CNBC, The continued overhang from Greece cast a bit of a pallor over the market. It’s hard because we obviously had such high hopes to start the week.”

On the other hand, Sarhan Capital CEO Adam Sarhan said, “The fear premium is so baked in to this market. It appears there’s lots of bullish fatigue out there.”

U.S. stock market gainers and losers                                            

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – declined 0.42% to 17,890.36 points
  • S&P 500- down 0.30% to 2,102.31 points
  • NASDAQ- dropped 0.20% to 5,112.19 points
  • Russell 2000- fell 0.05% to 1,283.28 points

The stock price of Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET) climbed 3.95% to $132.55 per share.  Bloomberg reported that Aetna is close to reaching an agreement to acquire Humana as early as this weekend based on information familiar with the situation.

The shares of ATA Inc. (NASDAQ:ATAI), a provider of computer-based testing services in China, gained more tha 19.34% to $6.17 per share. The company gained more than 41% of stock value year-to-date.

Tenet Healthcare Corp (NYSE:THC) and Community Health Systems increased 12.22% to $56.20 per share and 12.90% to $64.46 per share, respectively, primarily due to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act.

The stock value of World Acceptance Corp (NASDAQ:WRLD) fell 22.94% to $63.82 per share. Analyst at FBR Capital downgraded their rating on the stock to Market Perform from Outperform with a price target of $73 per share.