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Tickers in this Article: VHS, CNC, THC, PCYC, HCA, PRGO, CYH
On a bad day for the market, the Nasdaq has slipped 2.7%, the S&P 500 is trading down 2.6% and the Dow is down 2.5%. The healthcare sector is the category of stocks relating to medical and healthcare goods or services. This sector includes hospital management firms, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), biotechnology and a variety of medical products. Stocks in the healthcare sector are often considered to be defensive because the products and services are essential. Even during economic downturns, people will still require medical aid and medicine to overcome illness. Having a consistent demand for goods and services makes this sector less sensitive to business cycle fluctuations.

The Healthcare sector (XLV) is down 2.5%, outperforming the market overall. Currently, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Vanguard Health Systems (NYSE:VHS)$817.9 million+9.7%
Centene (NYSE:CNC)$2.06 billion+7.1%
Tenet (NYSE:THC)$2.6 billion+7%
Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC)$3.41 billion-6.9%
HCA (NYSE:HCA)$13.63 billion+6.9%
Perrigo (Nasdaq:PRGO)$10.82 billion-5.5%
Community Health (NYSE:CYH)$2.62 billion+5%
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Vanguard Health Systems (NYSE:VHS) has risen 9.7% to hit a current price of $11.60 per share. This morning, 896,441 shares have been traded, whereas yesterday, volume was only 144,034 shares.

After rising 7.1%, Centene (NYSE:CNC) is currently trading at a share price of $42.69. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 1.4 million shares. This is 1.7 times its current three-month average.

After an increase of 7%, Tenet (NYSE:THC) has reached a current price of $26.69. So far today, the company's volume is four million shares, 1.5 times the current daily average.

After a decline of 6.9%, Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC) has hit a share price of $45.68. So far today, the company's volume is 868,418 shares.

Increasing 6.9%, HCA (NYSE:HCA) is trading at $33.06 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 11.3 million shares, more than yesterday's 7.2 million shares.

Perrigo (Nasdaq:PRGO) has decreased to $108.97 per share, a 5.5% fall. So far today, 1.6 million shares have changed hands. This is 3.8 times the current three-month average.

Community Health (NYSE:CYH) has increased to a share price of $30.11, a 5% rise. At 3.8 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 2.6 times its current daily average.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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