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Health stocks under pressure in wake of Trump plan to issue executive order on drug pricing

Sarah Toy

Shares of health companies were down Monday, with both the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF falling 0.6% in morning intraday trade. Shares of Cardinal Health Inc. led the losers in the S&P 500's health-care ETF, falling 3.1% after the company said CFO Jorge Gomez would leaving the company, followed by declines in shares of Incyte Corp , Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. , and Biogen Inc. , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Amgen Inc. . The dip in health-care stocks comes after President Trump's announcement Friday that he was planning to soon issue an executive order allowing the U.S. to buy drugs based on the lowest price paid by other developed countries. "Our guess is drug stocks may be initially pressured this week," Jefferies health-care trading desk strategist Jared Holz wrote in an email to clients on Sunday evening. However, "feedback already suggests investors believe the executive order, if it comes to pass, will only be relevant for a handful of drugs (those that are very significant in revenue and administered in a physician's office)... at least at the onset," he wrote. The drop in health shares comes amid a broader decline in U.S. stocks, as investors grapple with doubts about whether the Federal Reserve will still cut interest rates after a strong U.S. jobs report Friday. The S&P 500 was down 0.4% Monday morning. The index has gained 18.8% in the year to date.