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Salix Pharmaceuticals ( SLXP) pushed the Health Care sector higher today making it today's featured health care winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, Salix Pharmaceuticals rose $2.82 (2.6%) to $110.74 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,311,053 shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 901,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $106.10-$110.75 after having opened the day at $106.96 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $107.92. Other companies within the Health Care sector that increased today were: Fate Therapeutics ( FATE), up 28.8%, RadNet ( RDNT), up 18.0%, Dendreon ( DNDN), up 14.9% and Cara Therapeutics ( CARA), up 12.7%.

Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. acquires, develops, and commercializes prescription drugs and medical devices used in the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases in the United States. Salix Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $6.9 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 20.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Salix Pharmaceuticals a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Salix Pharmaceuticals 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, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

On the negative front, RXi Pharmaceuticals ( RXII), down 11.7%, Synageva BioPharma ( GEVA), down 11.6%, NewLink Genetics ( NLNK), down 11.6% and Northwest Biotherapeutics ( NWBO), down 10.3% , were all laggards within the health care sector with Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN) 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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