Obamacare's Rebound Helps UnitedHealth Lead the Dow's Triple-Digit Jump

Obamacare sign-ups surge in January, pushing UnitedHealth and other insurance stocks up big today as part of the market's rally.

Feb 14, 2014 at 2:30PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Investors have forgotten all about the market's earlier slump in 2014 today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI)  blasted into a 126-point gain as of 2:30 p.m. EST. All but a handful of the index's blue-chip stocks have jumped higher so far. UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is making the biggest strides today, climbing more than 3.3% as fresh, rosy Obamacare figures have created a great day for the insurance industry and its shareholders. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Consumption beats, Obamacare bounces back
Welcome economic data kicked off the Dow's good day, as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence report showed American consumer sentiment holding steady in February from the previous month's reading. Consumer confidence came in at a level of 81.2, while the average estimate had been for a fall to 80.2. That's good news for the economy, which has struggled with lackluster jobs growth over the last few months. Consumption makes up the largest part of the overall U.S. economy, and more spending means Americans are feeling better about the nation's direction.

Meanwhile, Obamacare and insurers such as UnitedHealth are looking good today as the Department of Health and Human Services released new figures for the health care law that showed subscriber enrollment jumped by 1.2 million in January. That not only brought total enrollment up to 3.3 million for the first four months of Obamacare's launch, but also topped the Obama administration's projection for January enrollment.

That helped kicked stocks across the insurance industry up today, with UnitedHealth investors welcoming the big jump in share price after a ho-hum start to the year for America's largest publicly traded insurer. UnitedHealth's scope and sheer membership size means it will be less affected by Obamacare's ups and downs in the law's early going than smaller insurers, and it has cautiously only jumped into a few state health insurance exchanges, while WellPoint (NYSE:ANTM) and other more aggressive insurers operate Obamacare plans in many more states and thus have more riding on its success. WellPoint's stock certainly has made the most of today, jumping 3% on the good news.

Make no mistake: this good data is still well received by UnitedHealth. In particular, the company has reason to applaud figures showing that more young people have been signing up for coverage lately. Greater youth enrollment figures is critical for UnitedHealth and other insurers to keep medical costs down from older, sicker patients who have signed up for Obamacare plans. While youth enrollment's still off from the original 40% of total sign-ups that the HHS aimed for before the law's launch, the increasing acceptance of Obamacare by America's young people suggests further growth in future months, even if both those sign-ups and total enrollment remain below the administration's original targets so far.

The facts you need about Obamacare's rollout
Still unsure of how Obamacare will impact your portfolio? Obamacare seems complex, but it doesn't have to be. In only minutes, you can learn the critical facts you need to know in a special free report called "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare." This FREE guide contains the key information and money-making advice that every American must know. Please click here to access your free copy.

Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint. The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers