Skip to main content

Healthcare stocks responded in a mixed way Thursday, March 8, to another blockbuster deal in the space.

U.S. health insurance giant Cigna Corp. (CI) - Get Cigna Corporation Report said it planned to pay $67 billion to buy out benefits management group Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) . The news sent Express Scripts shares higher 8.58%, while Cigna stock slumped 11.46% at the market close. Both traded on significantly heavy volume throughout Thursday's session.

The rest of the healthcare and insurance sectors were divided by the close of trading on Thursday.

CVS Health Corp. (CVS) - Get CVS Health Corporation Report stock gained 1.27% to $68.37, while Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) - Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. Report stock fell 0.76% to $68.97.

Among large insurance providers, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) - Get UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (DE) Report shares fell 0.84% to $224.628, Aetna Inc. (AET) stock slumped 1.43% to $176.09, Humana Inc. (HUM) - Get Humana Inc. Report stock fell 1.38% to $269.52 and Anthem Inc. (ANTM) - Get Anthem Inc. Report shares were down 1.02% to $228.75.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC) - Get AmerisourceBergen Corporation Report shares gained 0.68% to $96.25 while Envision Healthcare Corp. (EVHC) stock was higher 0.07% to $42.79. WellCare Health Plans Inc. (WCG) - Get WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Report shares fell 1.32% to $191.90 while Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. (DPLO) - Get Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. Report stock jumped 1.52% to $21.35.

The Healthcare Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) - Get Health Care Select Sector SPDR Report  rose 0.64% to $85.25.

The Cigna and Express Scripts deal is the latest in a string of consolidation in the healthcare and drug distributor space.

Last December, CVS announced a deal to acquire Aetna for $69 billion. About two years ago, Walgreens said it planned to buy out Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) - Get Rite Aid Corporation Report . Earlier this year, Walgreens was said to be in deal talks with AmerisourceBergen.

The sector has been under pressure recently in anticipation of the entry from non-industry players JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) - Get JP Morgan Chase & Co. Report , Inc. (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Report , which have established a joint venture aimed at reducing health insurance costs.

JPMorgan and Amazon are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.