Shares of health insurers from Cigna Corp. to Aetna Inc. surged on speculation that the industry is heading for a round of mergers to boost profits.

Cigna rose as much as 19 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported Anthem Inc. has made two takeover bids for its smaller rival within the past 10 days. Aetna climbed as much as 7.2 percent after the newspaper reported that UnitedHealthGroup Inc. may be interested in a deal for the company or for Cigna.

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