AstraZeneca PLC (AZN): Today's Featured Drugs Laggard

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.

AstraZeneca ( AZN) pushed the Drugs industry lower today making it today's featured Drugs laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.3%. By the end of trading, AstraZeneca fell $0.54 (-1.0%) to $51.32 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,083,792 shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,542,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $51.20-$51.54 after having opened the day at $51.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.86. Other companies within the Drugs industry that declined today were: Mast Therapeutics ( MSTX), down 32.1%, Lannett Incorporated ( LCI), down 13.4%, Zalicus ( ZLCS), down 11.3% and Neostem ( NBS), down 9.6%.

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 $64.6 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 9.1% 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 4 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.

On the positive front, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC ADR ( GWPH), up 175.1%, Discovery Laboratories ( DSCO), up 37.1%, Idera Pharmaceuticals ( IDRA), up 16.7% and Ambit Biosciences ( AMBI), up 12.4% , were all gainers within the drugs industry with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company ( BMY) being today's featured drugs industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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