The market has been doing well after the morning's trading. The Nasdaq has climbed 1.7%; the S&P 500 has increased 1%; and the Dow is trading up 0.9%. The healthcare sector is the category of stocks relating to medical and healthcare goods or services. This sector includes hospital management firms, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), biotechnology and a variety of medical products. Stocks in the healthcare sector are often considered to be defensive because the products and services are essential. Even during economic downturns, people will still require medical aid and medicine to overcome illness. Having a consistent demand for goods and services makes this sector less sensitive to business cycle fluctuations.

The Healthcare sector (XLV) is up 1.1%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:

CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI)$1.08 billion-7%
Magellan Health Services (Nasdaq:MGLN)$1.46 billion-7%
Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC)$4.09 billion+6%
Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq:AMRN)$1.39 billion-5.4%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX)$8.73 billion+4.1%
HCA (NYSE:HCA)$14.95 billion-3.3%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALXN)$18 billion+2.7%
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Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI) has fallen 7% and is currently trading at $25.44 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 1.6 million shares.

At $49.29, Magellan Health Services (Nasdaq:MGLN) has slipped 7%. The company's volume for the day so far is 432,941 shares, 1.8 times its average over the past three months.

Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC) has risen 6% and is currently trading at $62.31 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 472,358 shares. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday.

Currently trading at $8.84 per share, Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq:AMRN) has fallen 5.4%. So far today, the company's volume is 7.1 million shares, 1.2 times the current daily average.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX) is up 4.1% to reach a current price of $41.90 per share. So far today, the company's volume is one million shares.

Slipping 3.3%, HCA (NYSE:HCA) is currently trading at $32.76 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 7.8 million shares, 2.5 times its current three-month average.

Rising 2.7%, Alexion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALXN) is currently trading at $95.14 per share. The company's volume is currently 300,151 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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Tickers in this Article: INFI, MGLN, PCYC, AMRN, VRTX, HCA, ALXN

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