Today's Stocks Driving Success For The Health Care Sector

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 67 points (0.4%) at 16,436 as of Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,992 issues advancing vs. 961 declining with 169 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include Air Methods ( AIRM), up 11.3%, Taro Pharmaceutical Industries ( TARO), up 3.6%, Allergan ( AGN), up 2.7%, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International ( VRX), up 1.4% and Humana ( HUM), up 1.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Salix Pharmaceuticals ( SLXP), down 5.4%, Pharmacyclics ( PCYC), down 3.2%, AstraZeneca ( AZN), down 2.8%, Mylan ( MYL), down 1.6% and HCA Holdings ( HCA), down 1.3%.

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

3. Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is up $1.60 (1.9%) to $86.34 on light volume. Thus far, 418,696 shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $85.18-$86.51 after having opened the day at $85.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $84.74.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing, and commercializing small molecule drugs for patients with serious diseases. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $20.7 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 14.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts who rate Vertex Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vertex Pharmaceuticals as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock performance, considering both the consistency and magnitude of the price movement over time. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Vertex Pharmaceuticals 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, Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN) is up $2.14 (1.4%) to $158.10 on light volume. Thus far, 320,687 shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $155.55-$158.85 after having opened the day at $156.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $155.96.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, develops and commercializes life-transforming therapeutic products. Alexion Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $31.4 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 17.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts who rate Alexion Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alexion Pharmaceuticals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Alexion Pharmaceuticals 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, Illumina ( ILMN) is up $7.08 (4.5%) to $166.26 on average volume. Thus far, 793,114 shares of Illumina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $160.81-$166.76 after having opened the day at $162.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $159.18.

Illumina, Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and function in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and South Africa. Illumina has a market cap of $22.2 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 44.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts who rate Illumina a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Illumina as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Illumina 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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