The Nasdaq remains relatively unchanged, the S&P 500 has climbed 0.4% and the Dow is trading up 0.6% so far today. 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.

These are the biggest movers in the Healthcare sector (XLV) (+0.2%):

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
VIVUS (Nasdaq:VVUS) $1.5 billion -21.2%
Express Scripts (Nasdaq:ESRX) $50.98 billion -13.5%
Myriad Genetics (Nasdaq:MYGN) $2.19 billion +11.5%
Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE:NVO) $92.58 billion -7.9%
Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI) $871.9 million -6.3%
Covance (NYSE:CVD) $2.79 billion +5.6%
HCA (NYSE:HCA) $14.2 billion -4.4%

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After a precipitous drop of 21.2%, VIVUS (Nasdaq:VVUS) is now trading at a share price of $11.78. So far today, 9.2 million shares have changed hands. This is 2.5 times the average volume over the last three months.

Taking a 13.5% hit, Express Scripts (Nasdaq:ESRX) is currently trading at $54.38 per share. At 31.2 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 6.7 times the average daily volume.

Myriad Genetics (Nasdaq:MYGN) is trading at $29.94 per share, a significant rise of 11.5%. So far today, 1.4 million shares have changed hands.

At $146.98, Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE:NVO) has slipped 7.9%. At 1.3 million shares, the company's volume so far today is which is more trading activity than there was yesterday.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI) is currently trading at a share price of $20.80, a 6.3% decline. The company is currently trading a volume of 317,016 shares. This is 0.7 times the current three-month average.

Rising 5.6%, Covance (NYSE:CVD) is currently trading at $53.45 per share. The company's volume is currently 487,428 shares for the day, 1.3 times the average daily volume.

Slipping 4.4%, HCA (NYSE:HCA) is currently trading at $30.81 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 1.9 million shares.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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