Market bull hates these four health-care stocks

One technical analyst who is bullish on the overall market says that investors would be wise to sell four stocks in the embattled health-care sector and believes that they are a must sell.

Health-care stocks have fallen more than 8 percent since hitting highs in early August, and one particular part of the sector looks especially weak to Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer. The technician may be bullish overall on the market, but he believes that managed health-care companies, which aim to provide services that improve quality and control costs, are in trouble.

"One area that we do not think is going to work is the managed care industry," he said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "Most notable to us, speaking in terms of the charts, is really just how broadly weak it has been."

Among the names, Wald is concerned about Aetna, Anthem and Humana. Anthem and Humana are down year to date, with Anthem falling a staggering 12 percent since the start of the year, and Aetna has slumped in the past month after trading more or less in a range during the summer.

But one of the biggest worries for the managed care industry could be health services company Cigna. Not only is the stock down more than 15 percent year to date, but Wald sees technical trouble in the charts for Cigna as well.

On a chart of Cigna, Wald believes that the stock has fallen below a two-year support level at $135 and that it has essentially finished its top. He sees $125 as what he calls the "new ceiling" for the stock, and predicts Cigna could actually fall down to $110. This means Wald sees Cigna dropping another 9 percent from Tuesday morning's levels.

But there are some who see positive signs for managed care stocks, such as Kevin Caron, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus.

"When you look at the underlying business, it's slow but positive [with] lots of free cash flow, very profitable," he said Monday on "Trading Nation." "The dividends are very, very well covered by earnings. Ultimately, there are some pockets for these companies where there are new growth opportunities."

However, investors may still want to wait a while before buying these stocks.

"It's going to come down to what kind of earnings power these guys are going to have looking out to three to five years," said Caron.

Cigna did bounce more than 4 percent Tuesday. This even with a Department of Justice order for Cigna and Anthem, which was also up more than 4 percent, to release emails detailing a merger deal for which both companies were sued in July. Health care, however, remained relatively flat when markets opened Tuesday.

Disclosure: A portfolio managed by Caron holds shares of Aetna and United Health.


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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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