Health Care Stocks On The Rise With Help From 3 Stocks

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 108 points (0.7%) at 16,372 as of Friday, March 28, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,438 issues advancing vs. 544 declining with 153 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include Smith & Nephew ( SNN), up 2.4%, WellPoint ( WLP), up 2.4%, Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG), up 2.2%, HCA Holdings ( HCA), up 2.2% and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX), up 2.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Gilead ( GILD), down 3.1%, and Biogen Idec ( BIIB), down 1.3%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Express Scripts ( ESRX) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Express Scripts is up $0.45 (0.6%) to $75.71 on light volume. Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Express Scripts exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $74.38-$76.22 after having opened the day at $75.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $75.26.

Express Scripts Holding Company provides a range of pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services primarily in the United States and Canada. The company offers healthcare management and administration services on behalf of its clients. Express Scripts has a market cap of $58.5 billion and is part of the health services industry. Shares are up 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 15 analysts who rate Express Scripts a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Express Scripts as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Express Scripts 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, UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) is up $0.88 (1.1%) to $81.90 on average volume. Thus far, 2.1 million shares of UnitedHealth Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $81.26-$82.35 after having opened the day at $81.40 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $81.02.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $80.7 billion and is part of the health services industry. Shares are up 7.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 14 analysts who rate UnitedHealth Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates UnitedHealth Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full UnitedHealth Group 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, Actavis ( ACT) is up $2.32 (1.1%) to $205.19 on average volume. Thus far, 1.0 million shares of Actavis exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $202.97-$208.40 after having opened the day at $203.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $202.87.

Actavis plc, an integrated specialty pharmaceutical company, is engaged in the development, manufacture, marketing, sale, and distribution of pharmaceutical products in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and the Asia Pacific. Actavis has a market cap of $35.4 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 20.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 13 analysts who rate Actavis a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Actavis as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full Actavis 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 3 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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