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UnitedHealth is back and lifting other health-care stocks with it


Traders work at the post where UnitedHealth Group is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

UnitedHealth Group‘s (UNH) quality quarterly results Friday are a good sign for the broader health-care landscape, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said.

The managed-care giant earned an adjusted $6.56 per share on revenues of $92.4 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30. Both figures topped Wall Street expectations.

Shares of UnitedHealth rose roughly 2% on Friday to around $535 each. In a largely stronger day for the market overall, the S&P 500 health-care sector climbed nearly 1%, with only energy and financials performing better. It’s worth noting that UNH is the highest-priced stock in the Dow — so big swings in these shares can really move the 30-stock average.

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UnitedHealth “is a key component in the health-care universe, and … there will be a plethora of stocks that will trade well off this,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.” Humana (HUM) is one of them — up nearly 2.5% on Friday. Cramer’s Charitable Trust, the portfolio used by the CNBC Investing Club, owns Humana shares.

Friday marked the second time UnitedHealth has reported quarterly results since it warned in June about elevated medical costs amid an uptick in procedures from seniors.

The company’s past comments had major ripple effects for health-care stocks, dragging down fellow insurers — such as Humana — while boosting shares of many medical device makers.

UnitedHealth’s better-than-expected second-quarter results in July helped soothe investor angst, and Cramer suggested Friday’s report offered additional assurance on medical cost trends. “UNH is back,” he added.

Including Friday’s gains, UNH shares turned slightly positive year to date.

Here’s a full list of the stocks in Jim’s Charitable Trust, the portfolio used by the CNBC Investing Club.



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