In the news
Anthem Inc.'s planned merger with Cigna Corp. would result in an increase in prices and deterioration in care in many metropolitan areas and states, including Connecticut, a government witness testified Dec. 20 during the deal's antitrust trial, The Connecticut Mirror reported.
Meanwhile, in the Aetna Inc.- Humana Inc. deal antitrust trial, Aetna witness Jonathan Orszag said the merger would be complementary, citing Aetna's focus on commercial group insurance policies and Humana's on Medicare Advantage, according to the report. Orszag is an economist and principal of consulting firm Compass Lexecon.
Closing statements in the Aetna-Humana case are expected today, while the Anthem-Cigna trial is expected to close Dec. 23, the publication reported.
Elements Property Insurance Co. is exploring a potential sale and Guy Carpenter is acting as the insurer's adviser on the sale process, Trading Risk reported, citing sources.
The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation said they would not count people with access to minimal health insurance benefits as being covered under an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Morning Consult reported, citing a CBO blog post.
In deal news, the North Carolina Department of Insurance approved Arch Capital Group Ltd.'s acquisition of United Guaranty Corp.
If the merger agreement between Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings AG and Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is terminated by either of the parties as a result of an adverse change in the recommendation of the other party's board, the party terminating the agreement would be required to pay a termination fee of $196 million.
Leavitt Group Enterprises confirmed that it acquired a majority stake in Santa Barbara, Calif.-based BB&H Benefit Designs, effective Nov. 1.
Insurance brokerage and risk management firm Risk Strategies Co. acquired Hollywood, Fla.-based Advanced Insurance Underwriters, which focuses on commercial P&C insurance with additional capabilities in employee benefits, private client services and other specialty insurance programs.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. agreed to sell $750.0 million of its 3.450% notes due Jan. 15, 2027, and $750.0 million of its 4.200% notes due Jan. 15, 2047.
With auto insurance struggles unlikely to immediately abate and losses from Hurricane Matthew due to hit, P&C insurers will be hard-pressed in the fourth quarter to match the underwriting profit they produced in the year-earlier period, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report.
Johnson & Johnson still in race for Actelion; Allergan to buy LifeCell: A report from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging is calling on Congress to address drug price spikes, The New York Times reported.
Financial news in other parts of the world
Asia-Pacific: Macquarie to get nod for Green Bank buy; Cognizant to acquire Australian insurer
Europe: French banks sue ECB over capital rules; global banks fined over rate cartels
Middle East & Africa: Fraud prevention in South Africa; currency black market curb in Nigeria
Latin America: Brazil unveils more economic measures; court upholds Banesco fine
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.37% to 21,809.80, and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.26% to 19,444.49.
In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.10% to 7,036.59, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.36% to 928.34.
On the macro front
The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the MBA mortgage applications report, the EIA petroleum status report and the existing home sales report are due out today.