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Senate GOP divided on Medicaid; UnitedHealth ups dividend

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Senate GOP divided on Medicaid; UnitedHealth ups dividend

In the news

Senate Republicans are sharply split over Medicaid funding, making it difficult for GOP lawmakers and aides to negotiate a deal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal reported. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to bring up the chamber's health bill for a vote in the Senate even if it doesn't have enough votes, according to GOP lawmakers.

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Preliminary 2018 rate filings submitted by insurers indicate that Anthem Inc.'s exit from Ohio will leave at least 18 counties in the state without a single exchange plan available in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the Ohio Department of Insurance. "Today, planning and pricing for ACA-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to the shrinking individual market as well as continual changes in federal operations, rules and guidance," the company said in a statement.

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MBIA Inc. does not believe a ratings downgrade of National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. is warranted, the company said in a statement after S&P Global Ratings announced that MBIA, National Public Finance Guarantee and Build America Mutual Assurance Co. were placed on CreditWatch with negative implications.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s board approved a cash dividend of 75 cents per share, representing a 20% increase over the previous payout.

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Arch Capital Group Ltd. expects its pretax underwriting income for the second quarter to be lessened by about $38 million due to losses in a business unit.

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In deal news, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. purchased Total Reward Group, a U.K. compensation consultancy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CBIZ Inc. acquired West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Slaton Insurance, a provider of property and casualty and personal lines insurance, effective June 1.

Fidelity National Financial Inc. announced that FNFV Group closed the $560 million sale of its majority ownership stake of OneDigital Health and Benefits to New Mountain Capital LLC.

Time is running out for Genworth Financial Inc. and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. to close their deal by the stated midyear target, and the transaction still needs regulatory approvals. The companies have targeted the middle of 2017 for closing the deal. In March, Genworth CEO Tom McInerney said the company remained confident that the deal would overcome drops in its share price and regulatory struggles.

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Athene Holding Ltd. priced an underwritten secondary offering of 16.2 million class A common shares at $49 per share.

Molina Healthcare Inc. completed a private offering of $330 million aggregate principal amount of its 4.875% senior notes due June 15, 2025.

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RBC Capital Markets LLC is expected to add former Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc. insurance investment banker Neil Chawhan. An RBC spokesperson confirmed that Chawhan is slated to join the company.

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The aggregate dollar value of mortgage loans held by U.S. life insurers increased sequentially for the eighth consecutive quarter during the first three months of 2017, and some of that growth came from a commercial real estate property type that has been recently subjected to heightened scrutiny, notes an S&P Global Market Intelligence report.

Featured news

Valeant could sell $2B eye biz; big pharma's race for Ebola cure: U.S. President Donald Trump retained Francis Collins, who has led the National Institutes of Health since 2009, as chief of the agency, the White House said yesterday. Meanwhile, Michelle Lee, head of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, resigned from her post.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: CIMB Group to sell 50% brokerage stake; QBE Insurance moving EU base to Brussels

Europe: Santander acquiring Banco Popular; RBS settles cash call claims

Middle East & Africa: Saudi, UAE banks halt dealings with Qatari peers; South Africa in recession

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.09% to 25,974.16, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% to 19,984.62.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,540.21, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 0.80% to 1,026.84.

On the macro front

The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the MBA mortgage applications report, the Gallup U.S. job creation index, the EIA petroleum status report and the consumer credit report are due out today.