Hospital stocks were, for the moment, huge winners in the wake of Thursday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that virtually all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was constitutional.
Many stocks of for-profit hospital chains enjoyed healthy gains in the minutes after the high court's ruling. For instance, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which owns and operates 163 hospitals in 20 states, was up 11 percent in trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
"We will continue to work with patients, payers and the government to ensure a smooth transition as the provisions of the law are enacted," HCA said in a statement, noted The Wall Street Journal. "We are pleased that millions of Americans will have coverage for better access to vital medical services, preventive care and acute care."
Community Health Systems, which operates 129 hospitals in 34 states was up by 8 percent in trading on Nasdaq.
Tenet Healthcare, which has been beleaguered in recent years by weak earnings, reported a nearly 6 percent gain, reported The New York Times.
Universal Health Services, which operates 23 acute care hospitals hundreds more behavioral health and ambulatory care centers, saw its stock rise 8.5 percent in NYSE trading.
"For the hospitals, it means that they get payment and they get more potential customers," JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade's chief derivatives strategist, told the Associated Press.
However, some analysts believe the gains made will even out over time.
"Financially, it's largely a neutral and it's what the market has mostly expected for the last two years," Jason Gurda, a healthcare analyst for Leerink Swann, told the Times.