Uncertainty surrounding the 2020 U.S. election outcome prompted BMO Capital to downgrade healthcare providers UnitedHealth Group (UNH) - Get Report and Humana (HUM) - Get Report on Monday, though Cigna (CI) - Get Report was upgraded for similar reasons.
In a research note to clients, BMO Capital analyst Matt Borsch downgraded both UnitedHealth and Humana to market perform from outperform on expectations that the two were "more heavily tied" to Medicare Advantage, which could see lower profit margins and/or slower enrollment growth under a different administration.
While Borsch sees "continued bipartisan support" for the program regardless of who wins the election, there is "a greater risk of a shift to less favorable regulation" in the event President Donald Trump is not re-elected to a second term, the analyst said.
Meantime, Borsch upgraded Cigna to outperform from market perform, citing its lower valuation as well as a "business mix that we think provides a 'hedge' against uncertain election outcomes." He affirmed his $188 12-month price target on the stock.
Shares of UnitedHealth roe 0.39% to $216.09, while shares of Humana were down 1% at $254.95. Shares of Cigna were up 1.24% to $151.33.
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