Novartis AG (NVS): Today's Featured Health Care Winner

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.

Novartis ( NVS) 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, Novartis rose $1.01 (1.4%) to $71.56 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.4 million shares of Novartis exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $71.17-$71.56 after having opened the day at $71.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $70.55. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: BSD Medical Corporation ( BSDM), up 17%, Strategic Diagnostics ( SDIX), up 15.1%, Anacor Pharmaceuticals ( ANAC), up 14%, and Oxygen Biotherapeutics ( OXBT), up 13.6%.
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Novartis AG engages in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of a range of healthcare products worldwide. Novartis has a market cap of $171.94 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Novartis a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and two rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Novartis 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 reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Prima Biomed ( PBMD), down 17.4%, Cardium Therapeutics ( CXM), down 11.4%, DARA Biosciences ( DARA), down 9.9%, and Bacterin International Holdings ( BONE), down 9.7%, were all laggards within the health care sector with Questcor Pharmaceuticals ( QCOR) being today's health care sector laggard.

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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