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New York (CNN Business)Forget about an apple (or Apple) a day. Healthcare stocks may help keep the investing doctor away.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) have plunged more than 20% this year. The FAANGs of Big Tech and other momentum stocks have been hit hard due to worries about slowing earnings growth and a weakening economy.
But many blue chip healthcare stocks have been solid gainers in this bear market for the Nasdaq and S&P 500.Merck (MRK) and biotech king Amgen (AMGN) are among the top performers in the Dow. Drug supplier McKesson (MCK), cystic fibrosis treatment maker Vertex (VRTX), Big Pharma leader Eli Lilly (LLY) and insurer Cigna (CI) are all winners in the S&P 500 too. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Lilly and insurer Humana (HUM) are even near all-time highs.
    It's worth noting that these aren't the big Covid vaccine stocks either. Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX), Moderna (MRNA) and Novavax (NVAX) have all cooled off in 2022 after enjoying huge pops last year. Antiviral drug makers Gilead (GILD) and Regeneron (REGN) are in the red this year too.
      The strong gains for other healthcare stocks are being driven more by the current economic cycle than the pandemic. Health care stocks often hold up well during tumultuous times. They are perceived to be stable companies that offer products and services people need even during a recession. Read MoreAnd many of the healthcare leaders also pay big dividends and are fairly cheap compared to the rest of the market.These US companies will cover travel costs for employees who need an abortionSolita Marcelli, chief investment officer of the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management, noted in a recent report that healthcare is "trading at an appealing valuation for a late-cycle environment."
        She added that since 2003, global healthcare stocks have tended to outperform the broader market by more than 6% at times when the manufacturing sector is slumping. (The ISM Manufacturing Index reading for May was the second lowest since May 2020.)Lauren Goodwin, an economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments, added in a report that "as long as economic growth remains in flux," investors should stick with quality stocks with "a defensive bent." She specifically cited healthcare, as well as utilities and real estate, two other sectors known for big dividends.An uptick in mergers could also give the healthcare sector a further boost. Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GSK (GSK) (formerly GlaxoSmithKline) have all announced multi-billion dollar deals this year. There are risks, of course. Depending on the outcome of the midterm elections, healthcare companies could come under more scrutiny from regulators and politicians. If Republicans win control of the House and Senate, there could be questions about the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and what that could mean for drug prices.But as long as the Federal Reserve is aggressively raising interest rates and investors continue to fret about inflation, healthcare stocks may hold up just fine no matter what happens on Capitol Hill."There has been a flight to quality in the stock market," said Edward Campbell, co-head of the multi-asset team for PGIM Quantitative Solutions. "I'm not surprised to see more classically defensive sectors like healthcare continue to do well." All eyes on jobsRecession fears are growing thanks to rate hikes, surging oil and gas prices and concerns that the housing market will finally cool. But one of the most important parts of the US economy — the labor market — remains strong.Workers are in the proverbial driver's seat, commanding healthy paychecks as many businesses find it difficult to hire workers in the midst of the Great Resignation. But could even the job market be poised to finally take a turn for the worse? The government reports the June payroll figures Friday. The data will wrap up a busy week of jobs news, including weekly unemployment numbers and monthly reports from payroll processor ADP about private sector jobs as well as the government's job openings and labor turnover (JOLTS) survey. Opinion: Why so many workers are still quitting their jobsEconomists are forecasting that 295,000 jobs were added in June. That's still a healthy amount, but lower than the 390,000 jobs gained in May as well as the revised jump of 436,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.6%, but it is likely to eventually start creeping higher. According to projections taken at the Fed's latest meeting earlier this month, members of the central bank are predicting that the unemployment rate will end this year at 3.7%, rise to 3.9% next year and hit 4.1% in 2024.That's still historically low of course. But there are concerns that American workers won't be able to keep up with rampant inflation as wage gains start to slow. Average hourly earnings rose 5.2% year-over-year in May, down from a 5.5% rate in April.Economists, investors and job seekers will be keeping a close eye on the figures for June to see if there is a further deterioration in wage growth.Up nextMonday: US markets closed for Independence DayTuesday: US factory ordersWednesday: US ISM non-manufacturing index; US Fed minutes from June meeting
          Thursday: ADP private sector US jobs; weekly US jobless claims; US JOLTS; earnings from Levi Strauss (LEVI)Friday: US jobs report for June

          News Source: CNN

          Tags: that’s still healthcare stocks the unemployment rate the unemployment rate stocks have been private sector the healthcare the government as well the government big dividends concerns continue workers report

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          Connecticut Will Use Federal Funds to Get People Back to Work

          by Brent Addleman


          Connecticut is focusing on a workforce investment designed to place state residents from underserved communities into high-demand jobs.

          Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday the state was awarded $23.9 million through the American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge through the U.S. Department of Commerce. The funds will be invested into the Office of Workforce Strategy programs designed to place more than 2,000 residents into the workforce.

          According to the release, the funding will be distributed to 10 regional sector partnerships to aid people from those underserved communities attain employment in high-demand jobs in manufacturing, health care, information technology, and bioscience.

          Lamont and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, were each quoted in the release, praising assistance for training and access to the respective job industries.

          The sector partnerships, according to the release, are comprised of officials in education and workforce and economic development that work in collaboration to advance industry competitiveness. The collaborative group will work to provide resources necessary to prepare high school students for the workforce, expand short-term training program, and include certificates from Google and AWS training from community colleges, and provide pathways to entry-level health care jobs.

          – – –

          Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.
          Photo “Ned Lamont” by Office of Governor Ned Lamont. Background Photo “Connecticut State Capitol” by EGryk. CC BY-SA 4.0.


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