Even including this week's weak performance, the markets have had a very good 2012, and much of that has to do with the outperformance of the health-care sector. Can all facets of the health-care sector continue climbing to new highs? That answer could lie in what happens with regard to these five stories bound to make waves next week.
The headlining story next week, if you haven't heard or have purposely been living in a cave, is the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday. At stake is President Obama's landmark health-care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, which threatens to be overturned by challenger Mitt Romney if Romney wins office. I detailed multiple winners and losers of the ACA in June, but hospital stocks like HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA) appear to have the most at stake this election. President Obama's ACA protects them from nearly all bad debts, and Americans are required by law to carry insurance. Under a Romney administration, that may not prove true. Needless to say, you can count on us at The Motley Fool to be all over the election on Tuesday and its implications for your portfolio.
Two FDA panel meetings will also take place in the coming week: one for Novartis' (NYSE:NVS) Signifor on Wednesday, and a meeting to review two drug hopefuls from Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), Tresiba and Ryzodeg on Thursday.
Novartis' Signifor is a potential treatment for Cushing's Disease that's already approved in Europe. According to late-stage data released in March, of the 162 patients in Novartis' study, 26.3% of patients at the higher dose, and 14.6% of patients at the lower dose, experienced lower urinary free cortisol levels after six months of treatment. Further, the effectiveness of the drug continued after 12 months of treatment for many patients.
For Novo Nordisk, it'll be presenting both Tresiba and Ryzodeg before an FDA panel to treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Both drugs have received European Medicines Agency panel backing for approval in Europe, but that may mean nothing when it comes to the FDA panel. Tresiba is a once-daily basal insulin that demonstrated a significant reduction in risk of overall and nocturnal hypoglycemia while offering a duration of action of an impressive 42 hours. Ryzodeg, as noted by thepharmaletter.com, contains insulin degludec in a soluable formation with insulin aspart and likewise demonstrated a reduced risk of overall and nocturnal hypoglycemia.
On the earnings front, you'll want to keep your eye on pharmacy-benefit plan providers, which are in for an important week in many respects. Aside from the implications of the U.S. elections, we can expect earnings from both Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) and CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. It'll be interesting to see whether Express Scripts' bottom line was affected by its lengthy spat with Walgreen that is now resolved, as well as find out if CVS has been able to add and hang onto those customers gained from Walgreen while its disagreement with Express Scripts was ongoing.
All eyes on the elections!
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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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