Health Care Leads the Dow Jones Higher Today

After a federal appeals court declared Obamacare subsidies on federal exchanges to be illegal, the health care sector is gaining, as many believe the decision will be overturned.

Jul 22, 2014 at 1:32PM

Health care and technology stocks are leading the stock market and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) up today following positive reports on the housing market and inflation. As of 1:20 p.m. EDT the Dow was up 73 points to 17,125. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) was up 12 points to 1,985.

There were two U.S. economic releases today.





Consumer Price Index Inflation Rate




Core CPI




Existing Home Sales


5.04 million

4.9 million

The one to pay attention is the National Association of Realtor's existing-home sales report. The NAR reported that home sales picked up in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million. That's better than May's 4.9 million and analyst expectations of 4.97 million, but it's down 2.3% from 5.16 million in June 2013.

US Existing Home Sales Chart

US Existing Home Sales data by YCharts.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun dug deeper into the housing market, saying: "Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country. This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices."

He went on to add some good news for homebuilders: "On the contrary, new home construction needs to rise by at least 50 percent for a complete return to a balanced market because supply shortages -- particularly in the West -- are still putting upward pressure on prices."

Homebuilder stocks, as represented by the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSEMKT:XHB), are up 1.5% today.

Home sales were a key strong point of the economy in 2013, but they have since lagged in 2014 as higher interest rates, coupled with high home prices around the U.S., have caused the market to stagnate. If home sales continue to improve, the rest of the economy should see a boost, as higher home sales correlate with increased consumer spending.

All sectors of the stock market are up today, with health care and technology leading the way.



Among Dow stocks, the leader today is UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). Last week UnitedHealth reported earnings that beat analyst expectations and pulled the rest of the sector higher. Besides the company's massive size, one thing that sets it apart from its competitors is its decision not to get involved with the Obamacare exchanges. UnitedHealth is currently involved with only four state exchanges, but it has since said that would be increased next year. UnitedHealth may be reconsidering that after a federal appeals court ruled today that Affordable Care Act subsidies on federal exchanges were illegal.

However, the health care sector is broadly higher today, as many believe the ruling will be overturned, and just two hours after the decision, a separate appeals court upheld the ACA's federal-exchange subsidies. This issue a big deal, as 36 states currently use the federal exchange instead of setting up their own. Also, 87% of people who signed up so far this year received subsidies. After the ruling, the Obama administration immediately announced that it will appeal. Given a split federal court system, this issue will likely make it to the Supreme Court.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Dan Dzombak has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group. 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

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, 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