Merck, Johnson & Johnson Slide on the Dow's Dip

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

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.

Stocks are stumbling on Tuesday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 37 points as of 2:40 p.m. EST to drop below 16,000 again on a wobbly day when most blue-chip stocks are in the red. Health care's big names are running into a wall today, as Pfizer has shed 0.7% to rank among the Dow's leading laggards, with Merck and Johnson & Johnson not far behind. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Merck moves ahead with trials
Merck's stock has fallen around 0.4% on the day so far, but the company's looking into the future as it steps up clinical trials for one of its developmental drugs. The company's BACE inhibitor MK-8931, a therapy for Alzheimer's disease, won the go-ahead to move into late-stage trials from a data monitoring committee reviewing its safety. Merck's pushing into phase 3 studies now with thousands of patients for the experimental therapy.

Alzheimer's drugs have been a tricky proposition among Big Pharma. BACE inhibitors, in particular, have garnered a lot of heat lately: Eli Lilly, one of Merck's top rivals, racked up safety concerns for its own phase 2 trials of its version earlier this year, forcing the company to shelve the testing. However, Merck's push into late-stage studies is a good sign so far for MK-8931, and this company needs all the help it can get from its pipeline to counteract falling sales caused by the patent cliff. Keep an eye on MK-8931's progress moving ahead, although this drug still has some way to go before it can be called a real success.

Johnson & Johnson's down slightly today after receiving a minor 11 million euro fine from the European Commission over accusations of collusion. Despite the stock's slip, you shouldn't worry: Johnson & Johnson's been a big riser on the Dow Jones this year, especially for such a diverse and broad-reaching company with its fingers in many niches of the health-care sector.

As far as Europe goes, it's been one of Johnson & Johnson's top markets. The company's European sales jumped by a whopping 12% in the third quarter alone, and through the first nine months of the year Johnson & Johnson's European revenue soared by 10.4%, nearly 4 percentage points above its American sales growth. Today's hiccup might sting, but Johnson & Johnson's still performing exceptionally across the Atlantic. No need for fear, investors.

Make the most of your financial potential in 2014
Johnson & Johnson's done well in 2013, but is it the best bet for your money in the new year? There's a huge difference between a good stock, and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

The article Merck, Johnson & Johnson Slide on the Dow's Dip originally appeared on

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading