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In this list

Aetna-Humana trial could be decided in early 2017; ACA sign-ups exceed 6 million

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Aetna-Humana trial could be decided in early 2017; ACA sign-ups exceed 6 million

In the news

Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. each agreed not to exercise its right to terminate the merger agreement until Feb. 15, 2017, in order to extend the end date for the pending deal.

Lawyers for the Justice Department and attorneys for Aetna and Humana faced tough questions from U.S. District Judge John Bates during the deal's antitrust trial Dec. 21, The Connecticut Mirror reported. Attorneys for the department and the insurers will return to the court Dec. 30 to make a final argument before Bates, who is expected to rule in mid-January 2017, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the antitrust trial in the Anthem Inc.-Cigna Corp. deal has been extended into early 2017, the publication reported.

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Ni Holdings filed for an initial public offering of its common stock, offering up to 10,350,000 shares at a price of $10.00 per share. Ni Holdings was formed in connection with the conversion of Nodak Mutual Insurance Co. from the mutual to stock form of organization and the creation of a mutual holding company.

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About 6.4 million people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act using HealthCare.gov through the extended Dec. 19 open enrollment deadline, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a statement from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new regulation that will prohibit insurance companies from refusing commercial crime insurance coverage to state businesses that employ people with criminal convictions.

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Community Health Plan of Washington confirmed a data breach that exposed almost 400,000 members' private data. Information accessed includes names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers and claim codes.

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Months before WellCare Health Plans Inc. agreed in principle to acquire Universal American Corp. for $10.00 per common share in an all-cash deal, the White Plains, N.Y.-based insurance underwriter pursued close to a dozen potential acquirers as part of a comprehensive strategic review process, according to a filing detailing the background of the pending deal.

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Athene Holding Ltd. said Guy Smith III, president of Athene USA, is stepping down from his role, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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The U.S. homeowners insurance industry saw direct premiums written rise in the third quarter, albeit at a slower pace compared with the prior-year period, as improved profitability led to smaller rate increases, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report.

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A U.S. company recently complained to regulators that it is on the short end of a solvency oversight regime change in Europe, negatively impacting its capacity to do business there, with a significant portion of its portfolio jeopardized. The unidentified company, which had an estimated $119.2 million of assumed premium, with 37% originating from European Union countries, is caught in the gears of Solvency II, which is imposing higher hurdles for companies from jurisdictions, including the U.S., that it does not deem equivalent.

Featured news

Novartis gears up against price cut; Johnson & Johnson comes back for Actelion: Novartis AG said it will challenge the Colombian Ministry of Health's decision to cut the price of its Glivec cancer drug by 44% to $49 per 400 mg tablet, Reuters reported. The price reduction follows failed negotiations between the parties which "stopped short" of overriding Novartis' drug patent.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: India fines foreign banks; China, Iceland extend currency swap deal

Europe: MPS poised for state bailout; EU banks exceeding liquidity rules

Middle East & Africa: Top Israeli bank set for international exit; Nigeria takes to the Internet

Latin America: 7 Mexican banks maintain SIFI designation; DBRS confirms Mexico

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.80% to 21,636.20, and the Nikkei 225 was down 0.09% to 19,427.67.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.11% to 7,033.66, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.08% to 928.63.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders, the GDP report, the jobless claims report, the Chicago Fed national activity index, the FHFA house price index, the leading indicators, the EIA natural gas report, the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.