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Tickers in this Article: STJ, VVUS, INFI, SRPT, THOR, HTWR, VRTX
After the morning's trading, the Nasdaq has been relatively flat, the S&P 500 has risen 0.1% and the Dow is trading up 0.2%. 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 climbed 0.1% overall, and these are the biggest movers in the sector so far:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
St Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ)$11.01 billion-11.6%
VIVUS (Nasdaq:VVUS)$1.04 billion+11.4%
Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI)$925.8 million+8.5%
Sarepta Therapeutics (Nasdaq:SRPT)$687.2 million+5.9%
Thoratec (Nasdaq:THOR)$2.06 billion+4.9%
HeartWare International (Nasdaq:HTWR)$1.29 billion-4.7%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX)$9.14 billion-2.3%
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Taking a 11.6% hit, St Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) is currently trading at $31.58 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 11 million shares.

VIVUS (Nasdaq:VVUS) is trading at $11.53 per share, a significant rise of 11.4%. So far today, the company's volume is 11.2 million shares, two times the average daily volume.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:INFI) is up 8.5% to reach a current price of $25.44 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 352,395 shares. This is greater than yesterday's volume of 255,550 shares.

Increasing 5.9%, Sarepta Therapeutics (Nasdaq:SRPT) is trading at $28.60 per share. The company's volume is currently 2.1 million shares for the day, 1.3 times its current three-month average.

After an increase of 4.9%, Thoratec (Nasdaq:THOR) has reached a current price of $36.73. So far today, 445,023 shares have changed hands.

HeartWare International (Nasdaq:HTWR) has fallen 4.7% and is currently trading at $85.33 per share. At 578,045 shares, the company's volume so far today is 2.2 times its current daily average.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:VRTX) is trading at $41.20 per share, down 2.3%. The company is trading at a volume of 594,606 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 2.4 million shares changed hands.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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