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Aetna merger talk drives shares higher

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Shares of Aetna, Humana and Cigna all closed higher Friday as speculation of a merger or acquisition involving two of the three carriers continued to drive prices upward.

Read: Aetna may acquire Humana or Cigna

Aetna and Humana both closed the week strongly, with Aetna finishing up $1.26 Friday to close at $112.74, while Humana’s share soared up another $1.65, closing at $175.90. Cigna closed up 26 cents higher at $132.06.

Analysts believe Humana is Aetna’s primary target, but have expressed concerns about the premium Aetna would have to pay. Both Humana and Cigna do significant Medicare business, something Aetna needs, analysts say, to remain competitive in the shifting health insurance landscape.