5 Health Care Stocks Pushing Sector Growth

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.

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 22 points (0.1%) at 15,424 as of Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,875 issues advancing vs. 1,030 declining with 132 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Hologic ( HOLX), up 2.6%, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ( TEVA), up 2.2%, WellPoint ( WLP), up 1.5%, Aetna ( AET), up 1.4% and UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), up 1.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG), down 1.0%, Celgene Corporation ( CELG), down 0.8%, Covidien ( COV), down 0.6% and Baxter International ( BAX), down 0.6%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is up $0.97 (0.9%) to $104.05 on light volume. Thus far, 465,442 shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $102.45-$104.30 after having opened the day at $103.46 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.08.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, develops, manufactures, and markets pharmaceutical products and medical devices in the areas of neurology, dermatology, and branded generics. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has a market cap of $34.8 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 74.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Valeant Pharmaceuticals International a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valeant Pharmaceuticals International as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN) is up $1.79 (1.6%) to $114.29 on light volume. Thus far, 348,025 shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $112.00-$114.31 after having opened the day at $112.54 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $112.50.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the development and commercialization of life-transforming therapeutic products. Alexion Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $22.2 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 21.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Alexion Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alexion Pharmaceuticals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Alexion Pharmaceuticals 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.

3. As of noon trading, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals ( REGN) is up $2.26 (0.8%) to $298.02 on average volume. Thus far, 301,131 shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 739,400 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $293.26-$299.96 after having opened the day at $296.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $295.76.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, invents, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions in the United States and internationally. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $29.1 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 75.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Regeneron Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. 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 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 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.

2. As of noon trading, Gilead ( GILD) is up $0.44 (0.7%) to $63.02 on average volume. Thus far, 3.1 million shares of Gilead exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $62.36-$63.10 after having opened the day at $62.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $62.58.

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 $97.7 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 73.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 18 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.

1. As of noon trading, Merck ( MRK) is up $0.27 (0.6%) to $47.95 on average volume. Thus far, 6.7 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.57-$48.22 after having opened the day at $47.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $47.68.

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 $140.5 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 17.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Merck a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 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, 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 Merck 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 5 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).
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