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Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

All three major indices traded up today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading up 275 points (1.6%) at 16,994 as of Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,500 issues advancing vs. 612 declining with 106 unchanged.

The Drugs industry as a whole closed the day up 1.0% versus the S&P 500, which was up 1.7%. Top gainers within the Drugs industry included

Aoxing Pharmaceutical

(

AXN

), up 1.5%,

ProPhase Labs

(

PRPH

), up 4.6%,

Merus Labs International

TheStreet Recommends

(

MSLI

), up 4.8%,

Acura Pharmaceuticals

(

ACUR

), up 5.0% and

Cellectar Biosciences

(

CLRB

), up 1.9%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

Acura Pharmaceuticals

(

ACUR

) is one of the companies that pushed the Drugs industry higher today. Acura Pharmaceuticals was up $0.03 (5.0%) to $0.62 on light volume. Throughout the day, 54,089 shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 74,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.59-$0.63 after having opened the day at $0.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.59.

Acura Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, researches, develops, and commercializes products to address medication abuse and misuse utilizing its proprietary Aversion and Impede technologies. Acura Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $33.7 million and is part of the health care sector. Shares are down 58.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Acura Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Acura Pharmaceuticals as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and deteriorating net income.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on ACUR go as follows:

  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ACUR's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 61.54%, which is also worse than the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Pharmaceuticals industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 14.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from -$3.08 million to -$3.52 million.
  • ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS INC reported poor results of -$0.30 versus -$0.20 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.16 versus -$0.30).
  • ACUR's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 7.38 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Acura Pharmaceuticals Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

At the close,

Merus Labs International

(

MSLI

) was up $0.07 (4.8%) to $1.53 on average volume. Throughout the day, 32,227 shares of Merus Labs International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 24,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.46-$1.54 after having opened the day at $1.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.46.

Merus Labs International Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, is engaged in the acquisition and licensing of branded prescription medicines in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Merus Labs International has a market cap of $119.3 million and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 2.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Merus Labs International a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merus Labs International as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, compelling growth in net income and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MSLI go as follows:

  • This stock has managed to rise its share value by 7.85% over the past twelve months. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 83.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$1.05 million to -$0.17 million.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 4.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for MERUS LABS INTERNATIONAL INC is currently very high, coming in at 80.97%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MSLI's net profit margin of -2.39% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, MERUS LABS INTERNATIONAL INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Merus Labs International Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Aoxing Pharmaceutical

(

AXN

) was another company that pushed the Drugs industry higher today. Aoxing Pharmaceutical was up $0.00 (1.5%) to $0.20 on light volume. Throughout the day, 10,020 shares of Aoxing Pharmaceutical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 32,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.20-$0.20 after having opened the day at $0.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.20.

Aoxing Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, researches, develops, manufactures, and distributes various narcotic, pain-management, and addiction treatment pharmaceutical products primarily in the People's Republic of China. Aoxing Pharmaceutical has a market cap of $11.8 million and is part of the health care sector. Shares are down 23.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Aoxing Pharmaceutical a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aoxing Pharmaceutical as a

sell

. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on AXN go as follows:

  • AXN has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 24.00% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The gross profit margin for AOXING PHARMACEUTICAL CO INC is rather high; currently it is at 58.33%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -71.80% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 68.38% to -$0.56 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AOXING PHARMACEUTICAL CO INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.97%.
  • AOXING PHARMACEUTICAL CO INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, AOXING PHARMACEUTICAL CO INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.16 versus -$0.34 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 78.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$10.78 million to -$2.33 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Aoxing Pharmaceutical Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.