Merck & Co Inc (MRK): Today's Featured Health Care 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 Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.8%. By the end of trading, Merck fell 63 cents (-1.4%) to $43.05 on average volume. Throughout the day, 14.1 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $42.91-$43.90 after having opened the day at $43.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $43.68. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: AVEO Pharmaceuticals ( AVEO), down 14.1%, BSD Medical Corporation ( BSDM), down 13.7%, Medgenics ( MDGN), down 11.9%, and Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners ( CPRX), down 10.8%.
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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 $133.82 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 20, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six 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 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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