3 Health Care Stocks Nudging The Sector Higher

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.

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 8 points (0.0%) at 18,244 as of Friday, May 15, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,559 issues advancing vs. 1,400 declining with 174 unchanged.

The Health Care sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX), up 2.4%, and Gilead ( GILD), up 0.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Sanofi ( SNY), down 1.1%, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ( TEVA), down 0.9% and St Jude Medical ( STJ), down 0.9%.

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

3. Brookdale Senior Living ( BKD) is one of the companies pushing the Health Care sector higher today. As of noon trading, Brookdale Senior Living is up $1.27 (3.5%) to $37.27 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.3 million shares of Brookdale Senior Living exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $35.76-$37.53 after having opened the day at $35.97 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.00.

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Brookdale Senior Living Inc. owns and operates senior living communities in the United States. It operates through five segments: Retirement Centers, Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)-Rental, Brookdale Ancillary Services, and Management Services. Brookdale Senior Living has a market cap of $6.8 billion and is part of the health services industry. Shares are down 2.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Brookdale Senior Living a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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

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2. As of noon trading, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ( ALNY) is up $1.81 (1.6%) to $117.68 on light volume. Thus far, 239,478 shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 686,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $115.77-$118.24 after having opened the day at $117.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $115.87.

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes novel therapeutics based on RNA interference. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals has a market cap of $9.6 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 17.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 8 analysts who rate Alnylam Pharmaceuticals a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its disappointing return on equity. Get the full Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Shire ( SHPG) is up $3.99 (1.6%) to $254.45 on average volume. Thus far, 284,346 shares of Shire exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 642,300 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $252.29-$255.26 after having opened the day at $254.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $250.46.

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Shire plc, a biopharmaceutical company, together with its subsidiaries, researches, develops, licenses, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells pharmaceutical products. Shire has a market cap of $48.7 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 14.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts who rate Shire a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Shire as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Shire Ratings Report now.

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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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