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5 Stocks Pushing The Health Care Sector Higher

1. As of noon trading, Merck ( MRK) is up $0.20 (0.5%) to $43.76 on light volume Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $43.63-$43.88 after having opened the day at $43.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.56.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. Merck has a market cap of $131.8 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Merck Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health care sector could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health care sector could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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