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

Merck ( MRK) pushed the Health Care sector lower today making it today's featured Health Care laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Merck fell $0.65 (-1.2%) to $55.04 on average volume. Throughout the day, 10,256,678 shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12,781,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $54.99-$55.66 after having opened the day at $55.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.69. Other companies within the Health Care sector that declined today were: NeoGenomics ( NEO), down 15.3%, Prana Biotechnology ( PRAN), down 13.3%, Escalon Medical Corporation ( ESMC), down 10.3% and Alphatec Holdings ( ATEC), down 9.1%.

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 $162.0 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 10.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 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 positive front, Dehaier Medical Systems ( DHRM), up 34.6%, Chelsea Therapeutics International ( CHTP), up 24.4%, Tianyin Pharmaceutical ( TPI), up 22.2% and Oculus Innovative ( OCLS), up 20.6% , were all gainers within the health care sector with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ( TEVA) being today's featured health care sector leader.

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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