4 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Health Care Sector

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

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 6 points (0.0%) at 14,695 as of Friday, April 26, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 953 issues advancing vs. 1,941 declining with 134 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits down 0.38 versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.43. Top gainers within the sector include Celgene Corporation ( CELG), up 1.5%, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ( TEVA), up 0.7% and Gilead ( GILD), up 0.7%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Covidien ( COV), down 6.58, Agilent Technologies ( A), down 4.40, Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX), down 1.74, WellPoint ( WLP), down 1.64 and Medtronic ( MDT), down 1.36.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Watson Pharmaceuticals is up $2.11 (2.13) to $101.00 on heavy volume Thus far, 789,476 shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $99.03-$101.46 after having opened the day at $99.03 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $98.89.

Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, engages in the development, manufacture, marketing, sale, and distribution of generic and brand pharmaceutical products in the United States, western Europe, Canada, Australasia, Asia, South America, and South Africa. Watson Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $11.0 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Watson Pharmaceuticals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Watson Pharmaceuticals Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Actavis ( ACT) is up $2.14 (2.16) to $101.03 on average volume Thus far, 795,702 shares of Actavis exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $99.03-$101.46 after having opened the day at $99.03 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $98.89.

Actavis, Inc., an integrated specialty pharmaceutical company, engages in developing, manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distributing generic, branded generic, brand, biosimilar, and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products worldwide. Actavis has a market cap of $12.6 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 129.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Actavis as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins 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 Actavis Ratings Report now.

Exclusive Offer: Jim Cramer's 'go-to' small/mid-cap guru Bryan Ashenberg only buys stocks he thinks could return 50-100%. See his top picks for 14-days FREE.

2. As of noon trading, AstraZeneca ( AZN) is up $0.38 (0.75) to $51.50 on average volume Thus far, 933,438 shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $51.10-$51.53 after having opened the day at $51.12 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.12.

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 $64.1 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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. Get the full AstraZeneca Ratings Report now.

Exclusive Offer: Jim Cramer's 'go-to' small/mid-cap guru Bryan Ashenberg only buys stocks he thinks could return 50-100%. See his top picks for 14-days FREE.

1. As of noon trading, Merck ( MRK) is up $0.59 (1.25) to $47.94 on light volume Thus far, 4.3 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 16.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.11-$48.00 after having opened the day at $47.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.35.

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 $144.7 billion and is part of the drugs industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. 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.

Exclusive Offer: Jim Cramer's 'go-to' small/mid-cap guru Bryan Ashenberg only buys stocks he thinks could return 50-100%. See his top picks for 14-days FREE.

If you are interested in one of these 4 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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