Another round of deal reports spurs jump for several health insurer stocks

Economic Indicators Associated Press

The shares of some major health insurers are climbing on a down day for the broader market after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Blue Cross-Blue Shield carrier Anthem tried to buy Cigna.

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The newspaper says in a report citing sources it did not identify that Anthem recently made two takeover bids that have been rebuffed.

Anthem and Cigna representatives declined to comment.

Investors and analysts have been speculating for weeks about the possibility of a major acquisition in a sector where size is becoming increasingly important. An Anthem executive told analysts last month that he thought the industry would continue to consolidate.

Shares of Anthem Inc., Cigna Corp. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. all are rising in afternoon trading. But shares are plunging for another target of deal speculation, Humana Inc.