Loop Capital says it’s time to buy CVS Health, UnitedHealth and other blue chip insurance stocks

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Blue chip health-care stocks look like a smart bet in this turbulent market environment, according to Loop Capital Markets. Analyst Joseph France initiated coverage of four health-care stocks with a buy rating on Thursday: CVS Health , UnitedHealth , Humana and Anthem . Health care is often seen as a defensive sector for investors, and all four of these stocks have smaller declines in 2022 than the broader market. The biggest stock of the group by market cap is UnitedHealth. France said in a note that the company is in strong position to defend its leadership status against competitors. “UNH’s consumer-centric, holistic approach to medical care is central to improving outcomes, boosting consumer satisfaction, and delivering value-based care by fostering evidence-based medicine and avoiding unnecessary hospital readmissions and other side effects of traditional practice,” France wrote. “We believe that UNH’s scale, industry leadership and innovative technology and practices constitute major competitive advantages that will sustain its leadership in the industry.” CVS is a bit different from the other upgrades, given the company’s retail business. “We expect the retail business to slow in 2022 as COVID vaccinations and testing decline, but the CVS Pharmacy remains one of the company’s greatest and most visible assets as it enlarges its national footprint in the community-based primary care market,” France wrote. Here are the price targets from Loop and upside for the stocks. CVS Health: $120 per share, 33.6% UnitedHealth: $575 per share, 26.1% Humana: $510 per share, 20.5% Anthem: $550 per share, 20.9% — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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