Editor's Note: 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

Merck

(

MRK

) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, Merck fell $0.75 (-1.6%) to $46.87 on average volume. Throughout the day, 15,905,579 shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17,376,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $46.51-$47.46 after having opened the day at $47.29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.62. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were:

Biota Pharmaceuticals

(

BOTA

), down 66.8%,

TranS1

(

TSON

), down 15.8%,

Oculus Innovative

(

OCLS

), down 14.0% and

ARCA biopharma

(

ABIO

), down 13.2%.

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Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. Merck has a market cap of $142.4 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Merck a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Merck

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front,

Celsion Corporation

(

CLSN

), down 39.5%,

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals

(

AEGR

), down 14.1%,

IsoRay

(

ISR

), down 13.8% and

Vermillion

(

VRML

), down 10.1% , were all gainers within the health care sector with

Sarepta Therapeutics

(

SRPT

) being today's featured health care sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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

).

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

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