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

Merck ( MRK) pushed the Drugs industry higher today making it today's featured drugs winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Merck rose 78 cents (2%) to $39.24 on average volume. Throughout the day, 18.3 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $38.59-$39.46 after having opened the day at $38.73 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.46. Other companies within the Drugs industry that increased today were: Warner Chilcott ( WCRX), up 16.1%, NuPathe ( PATH), up 15.3%, China Shenghuo Pharmaceutical Holdings ( KUN), up 13.5%, and Cleveland BioLabs ( CBLI), up 10.9%.

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 $117.05 billion and is part of the health care sector. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five 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 expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, NeurogesX ( NGSX), down 8.8%, Biodel ( BIOD), down 7.7%, Amicus Therapeutics ( FOLD), down 7.4%, and Hemispherx Biopharma ( HEB), down 7.3%, were all losers within the drugs industry with Celgene Corporation ( CELG) 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).

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