Merck & Co Inc (MRK): Today's Featured Health Care Winner

Merck ( MRK) pushed the Health Care sector higher today making it today's featured health care winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.9%. By the end of trading, Merck rose $0.61 (1.3%) to $47.16 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,058,309 shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 18,979,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $46.61-$47.30 after having opened the day at $46.93 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.55. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: Merus Labs International ( MSLI), up 18.7%, Prima Biomed ( PBMD), up 16.7%, Oramed Pharmaceuticals ( ORMP), up 16.1% and Celldex Therapeutics ( CLDX), up 14.1%.

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 $140.6 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 13.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Merck a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 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, good cash flow from operations, 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.

On the negative front, Pingtan Marine Enterprise ( PME), down 63.3%, Mast Therapeutics ( MSTX), down 40.0%, SunLink Health Systems ( SSY), down 10.1% and USMD Holdings ( USMD), down 8.7%.

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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