Baxter International Inc. (BAX): Today's Featured Health Services Winner

Baxter International ( BAX) pushed the Health Services industry higher today making it today's featured health services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Baxter International rose $0.79 (1.1%) to $70.06 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,029,221 shares of Baxter International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,518,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $69.40-$70.50 after having opened the day at $69.64 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $69.27. Other companies within the Health Services industry that increased today were: Spherix ( SPEX), up 19.3%, SunLink Health Systems ( SSY), up 9.6%, IsoRay ( ISR), up 8.5% and Diversicare Healthcare Services ( DVCR), up 8.0%.

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 $37.8 billion and is part of the health care sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 14 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 revenue growth, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Pingtan Marine Enterprise ( PME), down 61.1%, Stereotaxis ( STXS), down 11.0%, Healthways ( HWAY), down 6.7% and Hooper Holmes ( HH), down 5.6% , were all laggards within the health services industry with Covidien ( COV) being today's health services industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the health services industry could consider Health Care Select Sector SPDR ( XLV) while those bearish on the health services industry could consider ProShares Ultra Short Health Care ( RXD).

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