Investors weary of debt debate

Investors remained relatively calm during this latest round of political brinkmanship, with the S&P 500 index actually gaining slightly during the government shutdown. Eric Wiegand, a senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank, told the Associated Press that “investors have become, unfortunately, accustomed to some of the dysfunction. It’s become more the norm than the exception.” Wiegand’s sentiment will be tested again soon. The deal allows the U.S. Treasury to borrow money normally through Feb. 7; then another standoff could recur.

 

UnitedHealth hits but misses?

Shares of UnitedHealth Group dived 5 percent Thursday after the company said its third-quarter earnings rose just a bit. The performance was on par with projections, but UnitedHealth didn’t raise its full-year guidance, as analysts have come to expect.

“Walking into the quarter, the investment community expected them to beat and raise,” David Heupel, senior health care analyst at Thrivent, told the Star Tribune. “We’ve now probably gotten into a model that’s more realistic.” Sheryl Skolnick of CRT Capital Research Group called the quarter a far cry from being “a disaster.”