US hospital stocks shake off cliffhanger healthcare vote

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US hospital stocks shook off their earlier losses to climb back into positive territory following a nail-biting vote in the US House of Representatives to advance healthcare reform.

The S&P 500 healthcare facilities index — which tracks the shares of two major hospital chains — shook off its earlier losses to crack into positive territory following the vote. After falling 0.7 per cent earlier in the day, the index swung up 0.66 per cent after the vote.

Individual shares of companies that own and operate healthcare facilities were also tracking higher. After falling into negative territory earlier in the day, HCA Holdings was up 1 per cent, Community Health Systems rose 0.5 per cent, Acadia Healthcare was up 1.26 per cent and Tenet Healthcare gained 3 per cent.

Broadly, US equity indices were trading flat after the vote. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1 per cent to trade at 20,933, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both flat at 2387 and 6071, respectively. The S&P’s healthcare sector was the second-highest gainer of the day, picking up 0.44 per cent.

The bill is now headed to the US Senate, where it faces a tougher slog towards final passage.

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