Wall Street analysts continue to closely monitor the drama playing out among the major health carriers.

The possibility that an acquisition was imminent by Aetna of either Cigna or Humana was floated Monday after an investors' meeting hosted by Ana Gupte of Leerink Partners at Aetna headquarters. She speculated that Aetna would find either of those carriers attractive targets due to their Medicare business, a segment where Aetna has a gaping hole.

The stocks of all three bounced up and down Tuesday and Wednesday on the speculation. Shares of all three closed higher on Thursday, with Aetna experiencing the highest uptick — 1.54 percent.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.