Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SLXP): Today's Featured Health Care Winner

Salix Pharmaceuticals ( SLXP) pushed the Health Care sector higher today making it today's featured health care winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Salix Pharmaceuticals rose $2.52 (5.1%) to $52.12 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1.7 million shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 889,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $50.48-$52.74 after having opened the day at $51.16 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.60. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: Arena Pharmaceuticals ( ARNA), up 25.7%, Savient Pharmaceuticals ( SVNT), up 16.7%, IsoRay ( ISR), up 14%, and K-V Pharmaceutical Company ( KV.B), up 11.7%.

Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. acquires, develops, and markets prescription drugs and medical devices used in the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases in the United States. Salix Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $2.81 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.7, equal to the average drugs industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Salix Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Salix Pharmaceuticals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust 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. 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, MAKO Surgical Corporation ( MAKO), down 36.5%, Graymark Healthcare ( GRMH), down 29.8%, Dendreon ( DNDN), down 25.1%, and Sun Healthcare Group ( SUNH), down 16.9%, were all losers within the health care sector with Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI) being today's health care sector loser.

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).