For the second day in a row, shares of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) are under pressure, falling as much as 5% on Tuesday. Once again, there isn’t any company-specific news that can explain the big drop. That means that the most likely cause of the decline is the general market sell-off that is linked to the continued spread of the coronavirus.
The last few days have been brutal for investors. All three of the major U.S. stock market indices — the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC), and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) — are down more than 7% from their recent highs. That’s a big move in a short period of time.
Health insurance companies have fared even worse than the big indices. Companies such as UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, Humana, and CVS Health (which owns Aetna) have all fallen between 10% and 13% in the last few days.
Big health insurance companies are usually relatively stable investments, since their products are largely recession-proof, but the extra volatility is likely linked to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win in the Nevada Democratic caucus over the last week. That political news may have caused some traders to fear that a single-payer national health insurance system could soon become a reality.
While there’s no telling where CVS Health’s stock might head in the short term, management believes that 2020 will be a year of steady profit growth for the healthcare giant. Full-year guidance calls for adjusted operating income to rise to a range of $15.5 billion to $15.8 billion (up from $15.3 billion in 2019), and for adjusted earnings per share to land between $7.04 and $7.17 (up from $7.08 in 2019). If management can meet or exceed those targets, the share price will eventually take care of itself.