An AC Compacting LLC pill compacting machine sits on display during the International Pharmaceutical Expo (Interphex) in New York, U.S.(Photographer: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg)

Trump Talked. Drug Investors Read the Plan. Stocks Went Back Up.

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(Bloomberg) -- Health-care investors stared into the void Friday afternoon. Then, they shrugged, and placed orders to buy more health stocks.

Heading into the Trump administration’s unveiling of new measures to control drug prices, the market appeared to be braced for the worst. Some analysts feared the announcement could herald the dawn of an era of price controls.

But socialism didn’t cast a very long shadow over the sector on Friday.

Shares of pharmacy-benefit managers, perceived by many to be primary targets of Trump’s overhaul, swooned at first as the president promised to take on unspecified “middlemen” from the White House Rose Garden.

As the speech went on, the selling stopped. Soon, PBMs like CVS Health Corp., which ended the day up 3.2 percent, and Express Scripts Holding Co., which bounced 2.6 percent, were on the upswing.

Makers of some of the world’s most expensive drugs also soared. Biotechs including Biogen Inc., up 3.1 percent, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., up 6.2 percent, and Celgene Corp., up 2.6 percent, all bounced back from late-afternoon doldrums.

What lies ahead?

“We think this speech and White House PR are somewhat gentler than many feared,” said Eric W. Coldwell, an analyst at Baird Equity Research. “We feel that health-care supply chain stocks, in general, should rally on this outcome.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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