So far today, the Nasdaq is up 0.1%, the S&P 500 has slipped 0.1% and the Dow has remained steady. 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) has risen 0.4% so far today and here are its biggest movers:


CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Affymax (Nasdaq:AFFY)$828.8 million-9.7%
MAKO (Nasdaq:MAKO)$594.2 million+6.9%
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:AEGR)$593.6 million+4.3%
PAREXEL (Nasdaq:PRXL)$1.88 billion-4.1%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:REGN)$17.38 billion-3.4%
Mine Safety (NYSE:MSA)$1.52 billion+3.3%
Qiagen (Nasdaq:QGEN)$4.28 billion+3%
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Currently trading at $20.14 per share, Affymax (Nasdaq:AFFY) has fallen 9.7%. So far today, the company's volume is 2.1 million shares. This is 3.9 times its average daily volume.

MAKO (Nasdaq:MAKO) has moved up 6.9% and is currently trading at $13.66 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 691,080 shares, 0.8 times its average over the past three months.

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:AEGR) is up 4.3% to reach a current price of $24.31 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 201,963 shares.

PAREXEL (Nasdaq:PRXL) has decreased to $30.69 per share, a 4.1% fall. This morning, 369,404 shares have been traded,.

After a decline of 3.4%, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:REGN) has hit a share price of $173.86. This morning, the company's volume is 320,267 shares. This is in line with its current daily average.

After an increase of 3.3%, Mine Safety (NYSE:MSA) has reached a current price of $42.39. With 135,203 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 1.7 times the average volume over the last three months.

Qiagen (Nasdaq:QGEN) has risen 3% and is currently trading at $18.65 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 697,132 shares.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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Tickers in this Article: AFFY, MAKO, AEGR, PRXL, REGN, MSA, QGEN

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