Merck

(

MRK

) pushed the Drugs industry higher today making it today's featured drugs winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.6%. By the end of trading, Merck rose 26 cents (0.7%) to $37.60 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8.6 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $37.28-$37.67 after having opened the day at $37.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.34. Other companies within the Drugs industry that increased today were:

Vermillion

(

VRML

), up 47.9%,

Rosetta Genomics

(

ROSG

), up 44.9%,

Telik

(

TELK

), up 29.8%, and

ARCA biopharma

(

ABIO

), up 27%.

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 $113.94 billion and is part of the

health care

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.7, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 16.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

On the negative front,

MediciNova

(

MNOV

), down 42.9%,

Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners

(

CPRX

), down 34.5%,

Senesco Technologies

(

SNT

), down 9.3%, and

PROLOR Biotech

(

PBTH

), down 5.9%, were all losers within the drugs industry with

Human Genome

(

HGSI

) being today's drugs industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the drugs industry could consider

SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF

(

XPH

) while those bearish on the drugs industry could consider

ProShares UltraShort Nasdaq Biotech

(

BIS

).

null