Today's Top Performers In Health Care

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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 89 points (-0.5%) at 16,857 as of Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,007 issues advancing vs. 1,935 declining with 173 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. Top gainers within the sector include Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ( ALNY), up 4.7%, Gilead ( GILD), up 2.2%, Cigna ( CI), up 1.7%, WellPoint ( WLP), up 1.4% and AbbVie ( ABBV), up 1.2%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Grifols ( GRFS), down 1.6%, Medtronic ( MDT), down 1.1%, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX), down 1.1%, Biogen Idec ( BIIB), down 1.0% and Novartis ( NVS), down 0.9%.

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

3. AstraZeneca ( AZN) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, AstraZeneca is up $1.22 (1.7%) to $74.02 on average volume. Thus far, 3.9 million shares of AstraZeneca exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $73.09-$74.69 after having opened the day at $73.09 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $72.80.

AstraZeneca PLC is engaged in the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines for cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmunity; and infection, neuroscience, and gastrointestinal disease areas worldwide. AstraZeneca has a market cap of $92.2 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 22.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates AstraZeneca a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AstraZeneca as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full AstraZeneca Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Actavis ( ACT) is up $2.71 (1.3%) to $210.10 on light volume. Thus far, 847,325 shares of Actavis exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $205.63-$210.39 after having opened the day at $205.76 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $207.39.

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 $36.3 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 23.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 14 analysts who rate Actavis a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate 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 increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including 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.

1. As of noon trading, Merck ( MRK) is up $0.35 (0.6%) to $58.84 on average volume. Thus far, 5.6 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $58.40-$59.03 after having opened the day at $58.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.49.

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 $169.3 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 16.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck 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, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Merck 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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