AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Today's Featured Drugs 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

AstraZeneca ( AZN) pushed the Drugs industry higher today making it today's featured drugs winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.8%. By the end of trading, AstraZeneca rose $0.65 (1.3%) to $51.94 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,850,217 shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,208,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $51.46-$51.94 after having opened the day at $51.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.29. Other companies within the Drugs industry that increased today were: Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. A ( SCMP), up 24.1%, Celsion Corporation ( CLSN), up 15.0%, Oramed Pharmaceuticals ( ORMP), up 13.6% and Illumina ( ILMN), up 13.3%.
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AstraZeneca PLC engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neuroscience, infection, oncology, and respiratory and inflammation diseases worldwide. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $63.9 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AstraZeneca as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Biota Pharmaceuticals ( BOTA), down 61.1%, iBio ( IBIO), down 13.5%, Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners ( CPRX), down 13.2% and ARCA biopharma ( ABIO), down 11.0% , were all laggards within the drugs industry with Biogen Idec ( BIIB) being today's drugs industry laggard.

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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