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

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 Drugs industry lower today making it today's featured Drugs laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 2.2%. By the end of trading, Merck fell $1.46 (-3.2%) to $44.46 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 23.9 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.7 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $44.18-$45.67 after having opened the day at $45.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.92. Other companies within the Drugs industry that declined today were: Apricus Biosciences ( APRI), down 16.3%, Corcept Therapeutics ( CORT), down 15.8%, Opexa Therapeutics ( OPXA), down 12.8%, and Alexza Pharmaceuticals ( ALXA), down 12.1%.
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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 $139.09 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 13, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 21.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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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