Merck Leads Health Care's Bounce as the Dow Jumps Almost 200 Points

Johnson & Johnson and Merck rank among the Dow's leaders on a great day for investors across the markets.

Feb 11, 2014 at 2:30PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

It's been almost nothing but green on the markets today as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) hit a stride at the opening bell and hasn't looked back. The blue-chip index had jumped more than 180 points as of 2 p.m. EST, with every stock but struggling Cisco taking in gains so far.

The markets might be celebrating congressional testimony in which new Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen expressed her intent to continue stimulus tapering while furthering many of predecessor Ben Bernanke's strategies. It's been a particularly great day for health care stocks as Merck (NYSE:MRK) has gained 1.1% and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has picked up 1.6%. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Merck takes on diabetes
Merck announced yesterday that it's looking to develop a biosimilar version of rival Sanofi's (NYSE:SNY) star diabetes-fighting drug Lantus. Merck's developmental therapy, known under the drug's generic term of glargine, is headed to late-stage trials soon, according to the company.

Merck is hardly alone in its ambitions, however. Sanofi's Lantus ranks among Big Pharma's best-selling drugs and racked up more than $7 billion in sales last year. Lantus' patent expires in 2015, and the temptation of biting into the therapy's astronomical sales already has tempted Merck competitor Eli Lilly to push for a generic version of the treatment. However, Sanofi successfully sued for a 30-month delay of the generic competition, and it's not unlikely that a similar suit could be headed Merck's way. Regardless, the sales potential of a generic glargine is a hopeful sign for Merck, which has struggled with its pipeline as of late and looks to jump-start drug development for the future.

Johnson & Johnson's stock is climbing today despite no market-shaking news out from the company. The diversified health care stock's jumped more than 20% over the past six months even with the market's downturn to open 2014, but it's in pharmaceuticals that Johnson & Johnson investors hope to see even greater growth over the next few years. The company's oncology and immunology drug divisions have been among its fastest-growing businesses as of late, with each pulling in double-digit percentage growth year over year in 2013. Top-selling drug Remicade, one of the strongest names in Big Pharma, isn't facing the patent cliff in the immediate future, so investors can feel confident that Johnson & Johnson's best division isn't going to hit a big slump anytime soon.

Outside of the Dow, it's been a huge day for Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) investors. The biotech stock's jumped to among the best performers on the S&P 500 today with a 6.6% gain after it announced quarterly earnings. Regeneron's revenue jumped by 47% and its adjusted earnings exploded by 51% in the fourth quarter, but it was the company's optimistic forecast for the coming year that has Wall Street excited. Regeneron projects between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion in U.S. sales of its successful eye treatment Eylea, a mark that would indicate great year-over-year growth over the $1.4 billion in U.S. sales it posted for the full 2013. Eylea's performed exceptionally since it roared onto the scene in 2011, and 2014 looks bright for Regeneron investors as the stock rallies behind this new blockbuster.

Can Johnson & Johnson's dividends empower your financial future?
Big health care stocks like Merck and Johnson & Johnson have a secret going for the smartest investors: These stocks are great picks for the long-term through their high-yielding dividends. One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks in particular are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers