March 23 Market Close: GovCon Index Weighed by Commodity Declines, Health Net Up 4% on Centene Deal Approval

GovConIndexDOWNThe GovCon Index stumbled from the open to close at a loss of 0.279 points to 75.052 as U.S. stock declines mirrored a fall in commodities such as oil and investors continued to speculate over when the next interest rate increases could occur.

Los Angeles-based health insurance provider Health Net (NYSE: HNT) led Index gainers at 3.67 percent after the $6.3 billion takeover offer for the company by St. Louis-based Centene (NYSE: CNC) was approved by California’s insurance regulatory agency.

Shares in Centene climbed 3.84 percent and the company subsequently said it expects to “to close the transaction shortly.”

A shortened trade week due to U.S. markets being closed on Good Friday has held down volume and investors reacted to more comments from Federal Reserve officials that the central bank could raise interest rates more than the two times traders had expected, Reuters reported.

Crude oil futures in New York settled down 4 percent to $39.79 a barrel after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the country’s stockpile increased 9.4 billion barrels last week to nearly triple analyst expectations, according to Reuters.

Top GovCon Index Gainers

Symbol Company $ Current Price Net Change % Change
HNT Health Net* 67.19 2.38 +3.67%
BAESY BAE Systems 28.50 0.22 +0.80%
OA Orbital ATK 82.77 0.65 +0.79%
EGL Engility Holdings 17.53 0.11 +0.63%
HII Huntington Ingalls Industries 138.39 0.80 +0.32%

* Also listed in the S&P 500 composite index

Market Summary

Advancing GovCon Index Issues 10
Declining GovCon Index Issues 20
Unchanged GovCon Index Issues 0
Index Value Net Change % Change
GovCon Index 75.052 -0.279 -0.370%
S&P 500 2, 036.71 -13.09 -0.64%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 17, 502.59 -79.98 -0.45%
NASDAQ 4, 768.86 -52.80 -1.10%

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