5 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

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 24 points (0.2%) at 14,421 as of Monday, March 11, 2013, 12:45 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,375 issues advancing vs. 1,531 declining with 142 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include HCA Holdings ( HCA), up 2.0%, Cigna ( CI), up 1.2%, Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO), up 1.0%, Express Scripts ( ESRX), up 1.0% and Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG), up 0.9%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Aetna ( AET), down 1.8%, Shire ( SHPG), down 0.9%, Agilent Technologies ( A), down 0.7% and AstraZeneca ( AZN), down 0.5%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. Stryker Corporation ( SYK) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Stryker Corporation is up $0.43 (0.7%) to $66.15 on light volume Thus far, 428,430 shares of Stryker Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $65.68-$66.26 after having opened the day at $65.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $65.72.

Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company, provides reconstructive, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products for doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Stryker Corporation has a market cap of $24.9 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Stryker Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Stryker Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Stryker Corporation Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, WellPoint ( WLP) is up $0.54 (0.9%) to $63.57 on light volume Thus far, 481,829 shares of WellPoint exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $62.60-$63.65 after having opened the day at $63.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $63.03.

WellPoint, Inc., a health benefits company, through its subsidiaries, offers network-based managed care plans to large and small employer, individual, Medicaid, and senior markets in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Commercial, Consumer, and Other. WellPoint has a market cap of $19.1 billion and is part of the health services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate WellPoint a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates WellPoint as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full WellPoint Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Allergan ( AGN) is up $1.12 (1.0%) to $110.57 on light volume Thus far, 471,117 shares of Allergan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $109.21-$110.72 after having opened the day at $109.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $109.45.

Allergan, Inc. operates as a multi-specialty healthcare company primarily in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. Allergan has a market cap of $32.7 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 16 analysts that rate Allergan a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Allergan as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Allergan Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company ( BMY) is up $0.20 (0.5%) to $37.60 on light volume Thus far, 2.3 million shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.26-$37.66 after having opened the day at $37.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.40.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, licenses, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells biopharmaceutical products that help patients prevail over serious diseases worldwide. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has a market cap of $61.4 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Bristol-Myers Squibb Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Bristol-Myers Squibb Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Merck ( MRK) is up $0.40 (0.9%) to $43.37 on average volume Thus far, 7.1 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.87-$43.46 after having opened the day at $42.93 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.97.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. Merck has a market cap of $130.8 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Merck a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Merck Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 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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