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

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.

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 $0.81 (1.5%) to $55.70 on average volume. Throughout the day, 14,865,355 shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12,788,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $54.44-$55.75 after having opened the day at $54.78 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $54.89. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: Dehaier Medical Systems ( DHRM), up 30.3%, Cadence Pharmaceuticals ( CADX), up 26.5%, Relypsa ( RLYP), up 18.9% and Stemline Therapeutics ( STML), up 17.5%.

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 $160.0 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 9.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its 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, Nanoviricides ( NNVC), down 24.0%, Alphatec Holdings ( ATEC), down 18.3%, Compugen ( CGEN), down 14.5% and Cambrex Corporation ( CBM), down 14.2% , were all laggards within the health care sector with Galena Biopharma ( GALE) being today's health care sector laggard.

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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