Universal Health Services Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of hospital and care center operator Universal Health Services (NYS: UHS) are taking a sick day today after falling as much as 10.9% on heavy volume.

So what: The patient care sector ran into rough waters last week but some industry peers suffered more than others. Today, the pain is pretty universal as Community Health Systems (NYS: CYH) and HCA Holdings (NYS: HCA) are asking for higher morphine doses as well -- and the only explanation that makes any sense is that health care investors hate the debt-ceiling deal.

Now what: Looking beyond hospital owners such as Universal Health and Tenet Healthcare (NYS: THC) , even the large blue-chip stalwarts of health care are asking for a nurse today. Boston Scientific (NYS: BSX) and Medtronic (NYS: MDT) both dipped as low as 4% while well respected insurer UnitedHealth Group (NAS: UNH) lost 6%, which basically never happens all at once. If Medicare funding falls by the wayside, then health-care providers will feel the burn more than most, though.

Interested in more info on Universal Health Services? Add it to your watchlist.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic and UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in UnitedHealth Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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