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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press photos Specialists at the New York Stock Exchange watch President Donald Trump's post-election news conference Wednesday. With a political shift coming in the U.S. House, health care stocks rose because the Affordable Care Act appears safe.

  • Traders work in a booth on the floor of the stock exchange. Several companies can trace their market performance Wednesday to specific results from Tuesday’s election.

Thursday, November 08, 2018 1:00 am

Health care stocks jump

Since Obamacare out of peril; other stocks also react to election

MARLEY JAY | Associated Press

NEW YORK – The outcome of the midterm elections was good for the stock market in general, mostly because it didn't produce any big surprises. Here's a look at a few industries and companies affected in various ways by the election outcome.

Health care: Democrats' victory in the House means Republicans won't be able to pass legislation repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a goal for the party ever since the law was passed during President Barack Obama's first term. The bill expanded health insurance coverage, and the election results mean more stability for insurers and more reimbursement for hospitals.

Voters in Idaho and Nebraska approved expansions of the federal-state Medicaid program, which provides benefits to poor and disabled people. Winning gubernatorial candidates in Maine and Kansas also support expanding Medicaid benefits to more people.

The largest U.S. health insurer, UnitedHealth, added 4.2 percent to $274.63, and Anthem rose 6.6 percent to $289.94. The largest hospital company, HCA, gained 4.7 percent to $141.65. Medicaid services company Molina jumped 10.5 percent to $137.32.

Marijuana stocks: Voters in Michigan passed a ballot measure to legalize marijuana while a similar measure in North Dakota was defeated. Missouri became the 31st state to approve marijuana for medical use, while Utah also voted on a medical marijuana proposition.

The stocks built on their gains in the afternoon following the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and Sessions had promoted more aggressive enforcement of those laws.

Tilray soared 30.6 percent to $139.60, and Canopy Growth climbed 8.2 percent to $46.07.

Dialysis details: Dialysis services company DaVita gained 9.9 percent to $76.08 after California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have capped dialysis clinics' profits in an effort to improve patient care. Proponents of the measure said it would stop companies from cutting corners to make more money and would force them to spend more of their money on caring for patients.

Fracking fallout: Oil drillers rallied after Colorado voters rejected a measure that could have sharply reduced oil and gas drilling, including the method known as fracking, by requiring new oil and gas wells to be farther from occupied buildings than allowed under current law.

Anadarko Petroleum gained 5.7 percent to $57.89, and Noble Energy picked up 4.2 percent to $28.16.