The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.

This year’s dismal flu season is helping pharmacy stocks

3.5%

The effects of the flu season, which is particularly lethal this year, can also be felt in pharmacy stocks.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Andrew Kelly
The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

Shares of CVS, the largest US pharmacy chain with more than 9,700 stores, tend to outperform the market during flu season in December and February.

The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

Walgreens, the second largest chain with almost 8,200 pharmacies, also registers an improvement in its stock performance during the winter, and does relatively worse in the summer.

The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

Superficially, it looks like more people going to their local pharmacy to buy painkillers, decongestants, hot packs, and lozenges is having an effect.

The CVS logo is seen at one of their stores in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016.
3.5%

But that’s not the whole story. Share prices go up and down for a wide variety of reasons, and it’s hard to see why the flu effect wouldn’t be priced in by the market already—although it is an interesting coincidence.

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