The biggest U.S. gasoline price surge in years is running out of steam just in time for the start of the summer driving season.Energyread more
Stocks rose on Friday, but notched weekly losses as investors worried the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.US Marketsread more
The combination of mounting recession fears, bets on a more cautious Fed and a regular uptick in market volatility could spell more losses.Marketsread more
The therapy, Zolgensma, is a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy — a muscle-wasting disease and leading genetic cause of infant mortality, affecting 1 in every...Biotech and Pharmaceuticalsread more
SpaceX has raised just over $1 billion in financing since the beginning of the year.Investing in Spaceread more
An analyst for Ark Invest, which has a major investment in Tesla, says recent drastic price-target cuts by others on Wall Street are missing the big picture.Investingread more
A federal judge in California has blocked President Donald Trump from building sections of his long-sought border wall with money secured under his declaration of a national...Politicsread more
Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is seen as the bookmaker's favorite to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.Europe Politicsread more
The race is underway to find a vaccine that can control African swine fever, a highly contagious and deadly viral infection ravaging China's hog population. There is currently...Agricultureread more
Apple bought Tueo Health, which was developing tech to help parents monitor asthma symptoms in children, using a mobile app and commercial breathing sensors.Technologyread more
This year's flu season is shaping up to be just as bad as expected, and that is driving consumers to drug stores for relief.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, the nation's largest pharmacy chain, saw a big boost in December in part because of flu-related purchases.
The retailer said sales in stores open at least 12 months rose 9.2 percent last month, as the flu drove spending higher in the so-called front of the store for things like tissues and over-the-counter medications.
Pharmacy sales also saw a boost due to greater demand for flu shots. Since the start of flu season, Walgreens said it has administered 7.6 million flu shots in its pharmacies, nearly a million more than this time a year ago.
Smaller rival Rite Aid also reported stronger sales due to the flu last month. Shares of Walgreens and CVS Health hit 52-week highs in late December, and Rite Aid shares have been trending upward. All three stocks were trading higher early Wednesday.
The spread of the flu is also driving more patients to see their doctors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said flu activity was at moderate to high levels in two-thirds of the nation at year's end, when flu-related hospitalization increased. That has analysts wondering whether fourth-quarter results for health insurers will be hurt by flu-related medical costs.
"While flu costs are seasonal and not indicative of underlying cost trends, they can have marginal impact on health plan medical costs and hospital volumes and can be challenging to disentangle from underlying trend estimates," wrote Brian Wright, health-care analyst at Sterne Agee.
Wright estimated Medicaid players Centene and Wellcare Health Plans have the biggest exposure to states that reported the highest levels of severe flu activity at year-end, followed by Molina Healthcare.
For hospitals severe flu seasons result in higher volumes. Those with the greatest exposure to the hardest-hit flu regions include HCA Holdings, Community Health and Tenet Health Care, according to Wright.
Wedbush analyst Sarah James is also concerned that high flu activity will hit fourth-quarter results for pure-play Medicaid insurers, but the impact is likely to be more evenly spread than it was two years ago.
"In 2012, the primary outbreak of concern was in Texas," she wrote in a note to investors. James noted that because of greater exposure to the Lone Star State, Centene's fourth-quarter results that year were harder hit than its rival Molina Health's.
"This year, there is overlap for all companies in multiple regions and states," James said.
UnitedHealth Group will kick off earnings season for the health insurers when it reports Jan. 21.