4 Stocks Driving The Drugs Industry Higher

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 14 points (-0.1%) at 15,098 as of Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,393 issues advancing vs. 1,555 declining with 92 unchanged.

The Drugs industry currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. A company within the industry that increased today was Biogen Idec ( BIIB), up 0.5%. A company within the industry that fell today was Eli Lilly and Company ( LLY), up 0.7%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

4. Shire ( SHPG) is one of the companies pushing the Drugs industry higher today. As of noon trading, Shire is up $1.01 (0.9%) to $111.70 on average volume. Thus far, 226,342 shares of Shire exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 377,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $111.20-$111.84 after having opened the day at $111.65 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $110.69.

Shire plc, a specialty biopharmaceutical company, engages in the research and development, manufacture, sale, and distribution of pharmaceutical products. It operates in three segments: Specialty Pharmaceuticals (SP), Human Genetic Therapies (HGT), and Regenerative Medicine (RM). Shire has a market cap of $20.9 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 20.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Shire a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Shire as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Shire Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO) is up $0.91 (0.5%) to $175.29 on average volume. Thus far, 127,151 shares of Novo Nordisk A/S exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 312,000 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $175.08-$175.94 after having opened the day at $175.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $174.38.

Novo Nordisk A/S engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceutical products primarily in Denmark. It operates in two segments, Diabetes Care and Biopharmaceuticals. Novo Nordisk A/S has a market cap of $96.0 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Novo Nordisk A/S a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Novo Nordisk A/S as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Novo Nordisk A/S Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, AstraZeneca ( AZN) is up $0.26 (0.5%) to $49.97 on heavy volume. Thus far, 1.6 million shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $49.64-$50.08 after having opened the day at $49.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.71.

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 $62.9 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 5.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates AstraZeneca a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AstraZeneca 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full AstraZeneca Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Gilead ( GILD) is up $0.39 (0.7%) to $57.28 on average volume. Thus far, 4.3 million shares of Gilead exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $56.25-$57.73 after having opened the day at $56.76 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.89.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes human therapeutics for the treatment of life threatening diseases in North America, Europe, and Asia. Gilead has a market cap of $89.0 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 54.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate Gilead a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gilead as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Gilead Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

If you are interested in one of these 4 stocks, 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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