Merck & Co Inc (MRK): Today's Featured Health Care Winner

The health care sector closed the day up 0.4%. Align Technology Inc ( ALGN), Zalicus Inc ( ZLCS), iBio Inc ( IBIO), and Vision-Sciences Inc (DE ( VSCI) were all winners today within the health care sector with Merck & Co Inc ( MRK) being today's featured health care winner. Merck & Co Inc rose 80 cents (2.3%) to $35.11 on average volume. Throughout the day, 25.6 million shares of Merck & Co Inc exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 19 million shares.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. Merck & Co Inc has a market cap of $101.4 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 36.1, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 35 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck & Co as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc ( CPRX), NuVasive Inc ( NUVA), MediciNova Inc ( MNOV), and Five Star Quality Care Incorporated ( FVE) were all losers within the health care sector with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc ( REGN) being today's health care sector Loser Spotlight stock.

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).

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