Investors bet healthcare stocks will be among the big election winners from a divided government

UnitedHealth Group signage is displayed on a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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Healthcare stocks are emerging as some of the biggest market winners post-election as the possibility of a divided government transpires.

The likelihood of a Democratic president and Republican Senate could keep the healthcare industry safe from shakeup that would otherwise happen with a progressive agenda.

"The Health Care sector is less threatened by major changes to current structure," Citigroup chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich told clients. "The lower possibility of rising regulatory zeal and unwelcome legislation plus pre-election positioning leaves Managed Care and Hospital stocks in better shape."

Shares of UnitedHealth Group are up more than 17% since Monday and Merck & Co. and Abbott Laboratories have rallied 9% and 8%, respectively, this week. Cigna, which reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday, is up 30% since Monday, on pace for its best week since November 2008.

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