3 Stocks Pushing The Health Care Sector Higher

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

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 24 points (-0.2%) at 14,029 as of Friday, March 1, 2013, 11:49 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,249 issues advancing vs. 1,609 declining with 131 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include Celgene Corporation ( CELG), up 1.4%, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN), up 1.2%, Express Scripts ( ESRX), up 0.6%, Stryker Corporation ( SYK), up 0.8% and Amgen ( AMGN), up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Medivation ( MDVN), down 6.6%, ResMed ( RMD), down 2.0% and Sanofi ( SNY), down 0.6%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Baxter International ( BAX) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Baxter International is up $0.63 (0.9%) to $68.23 on light volume Thus far, 901,864 shares of Baxter International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $67.21-$68.32 after having opened the day at $67.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $67.60.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and markets products for people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. Baxter International has a market cap of $36.7 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Baxter International a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Baxter International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Baxter International Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG) is up $41.86 (8.2%) to $551.75 on heavy volume Thus far, 723,841 shares of Intuitive Surgical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 439,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $546.56-$558.00 after having opened the day at $553.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $509.89.

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems, and related instruments and accessories. Intuitive Surgical has a market cap of $23.0 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 35.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 17.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Intuitive Surgical a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Intuitive Surgical 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, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Get the full Intuitive Surgical Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Gilead ( GILD) is up $0.39 (0.9%) to $43.11 on average volume Thus far, 4.4 million shares of Gilead exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.38-$43.23 after having opened the day at $42.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.72.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes human therapeutics for the treatment of life threatening diseases worldwide. Gilead has a market cap of $65.0 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate Gilead a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gilead as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, 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. Get the full Gilead Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 3 stocks, 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).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: 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.

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