Several healthcare stocks tanked on Wednesday after the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 coronavirus disease a pandemic. Exact Sciences (EXAS 6.89%) shares closed down 10.9%, HealthEquity (HQY 0.09%) stock fell by 11.1%, and Senseonics Holdings (SENS -1.94%) shares sank by 13.6%.
What does WHO's designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic mean for Exact Sciences, HealthEquity, and Senseonics? Not much. But the broader market sell-off pulled all three stocks down in the undertow.
It's hard to identify any way that the coronavirus outbreak will significantly affect the business prospects for these companies. Exact Sciences makes its money from cancer diagnostics. HealthEquity specializes in health savings accounts. Senseonics sells an implantable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for individuals with diabetes. None of these businesses should be affected very much, if any, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exact Sciences could even emerge as the biggest healthcare winner from the coronavirus-driven stock market crash. Its share price has been hit harder than many stocks. But the company continues to perform really well financially, and its growth prospects appear to be as strong as ever.
Healthcare stocks aren't immune from being swept up in stock market sell-offs even when the underlying reason behind the market decline seems irrelevant to the stocks. But this presents buying opportunities for long-term investors who can see past the panic.