3 Drugs Stocks Pushing Industry Growth

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 104 points (0.6%) at 17,895 as of Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,771 issues advancing vs. 1,197 declining with 176 unchanged.

The Drugs industry currently sits up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.4%. Top gainers within the industry include Alkermes ( ALKS), up 10.0%, Perrigo ( PRGO), up 3.9%, Alexion Pharmaceuticals ( ALXN), up 2.0%, GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK), up 1.5% and Novartis ( NVS), up 0.9%. A company within the industry that fell today was Sanofi ( SNY), up 0.6%.

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

3. Merck ( MRK) is one of the companies pushing the Drugs industry higher today. As of noon trading, Merck is up $0.34 (0.6%) to $57.46 on light volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Merck exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $56.88-$57.51 after having opened the day at $57.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.12.

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Merck & Co., Inc. provides health care solutions worldwide. Merck has a market cap of $163.5 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Merck a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 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, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Merck Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) is up $0.76 (0.8%) to $98.25 on light volume. Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Johnson & Johnson exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $97.10-$98.30 after having opened the day at $97.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $97.49.

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Johnson & Johnson, together with its subsidiaries, researches and develops, manufactures, and sells various products in the health care field worldwide. It operates in three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices. Johnson & Johnson has a market cap of $272.7 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are down 6.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 8 analysts who rate Johnson & Johnson a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Johnson & Johnson 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, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Johnson & Johnson Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Gilead ( GILD) is up $0.73 (0.6%) to $118.89 on light volume. Thus far, 4.2 million shares of Gilead exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $117.42-$118.93 after having opened the day at $118.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $118.16.

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Gilead Sciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes medicines in areas of unmet medical need in North America, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Gilead has a market cap of $172.9 billion and is part of the health care sector. Shares are up 25.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 13 analysts who rate Gilead a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gilead as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. 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 Gilead 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 drugs industry could consider SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF ( XPH) while those bearish on the drugs industry could consider ProShares UltraShort Nasdaq Biotech ( BIS).

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