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Tickers in this Article: SEM, CYH, IPCM, CNC, THC, VRTX, LPNT
The market has been doing well after the morning's trading. The Nasdaq has climbed 1.1%; the S&P 500 is up 0.8%; and the Dow has risen 0.6%. 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 up 0.5%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Select Medical (NYSE:SEM)$1.41 billion-6.3%
Community Health (NYSE:CYH)$2.77 billion+4.6%
IPC The Hospitalist Company (Nasdaq:IPCM)$639.5 million+4%
Centene (NYSE:CNC)$2.17 billion-3.8%
Tenet (NYSE:THC)$3.32 billion+3.4%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX)$9.07 billion+2.9%
LifePoint Hospitals (Nasdaq:LPNT)$1.82 billion+2.8%
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Select Medical (NYSE:SEM) is currently trading at a share price of $9.37, a 6.3% decline. The company's volume for the day so far is 499,287 shares, 1.6 times its average over the past three months.

Increasing 4.6%, Community Health (NYSE:CYH) is trading at $31.70 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 530,220 shares.

IPC The Hospitalist Company (Nasdaq:IPCM) has risen 4% and is currently trading at $39.86 per share. At 61,037 shares, the company's volume so far today is one times the average daily volume.

After a decline of 3.8%, Centene (NYSE:CNC) has hit a share price of $40.43. So far today, the company's volume is 576,485 shares.

Tenet (NYSE:THC) is at $32.24 per share after an increase of 3.4%. At 1.7 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.9 times its current three-month average.

After an increase of 2.9%, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX) has reached a current price of $43.03. The company is trading at a volume of 664,131 shares. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday.

After rising 2.8%, LifePoint Hospitals (Nasdaq:LPNT) is currently trading at a share price of $37.95. At 92,145 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times the average daily volume.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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