Hospital stocks gained more ground Monday on rising equity markets.
But the nine provider stocks that comprise the Modern Healthcare Hospital Stock Index are still down 9% since Jan. 4. The index closed at 759.71 Monday compared with 697.03 on Jan. 4.
It was up about one-half of 1% Monday.
Hospital stocks fell harder than healthcare stocks in the second half of 2015. They were pinched by flattening volumes from Affordable Care Act coverage and wage inflation.
Meanwhile, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average returned above 18,000 Monday for the first time since July, gaining back nearly 15% since mid-February.
Hospital stocks Monday were led by Community Health Systems and Select Medical Holdings.
CHS gained 31 cents or 2% to $19.81. But the company, whose share price stood above $60 last July, still hasn't fully recovered all it had given up since closing at $26.53 on Dec. 31.
For the second year in a row, CHS is fighting a shareholder proposal that, if approved by shareholders, would make it easier for investors to nominate outside directors to the company's board of directors.
Select Medical saw its price rise Monday 30 cents, or 2.4%, $12.84 per share.
In February, Select Medical reported improved earnings in the fourth quarter and year despite being dinged for integration costs related to its joint venture operation of physical therapy giant Concentra.