BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Before you load up on bonds to prepare your portfolio for a double-dip recession, consider adding some Dow stocks, which are among the cheapest, safest and highest-yielding U.S. equities. Here are the 10 highest-rated Dow stocks, based on analysts' recommendations. They are ordered by percentage of "buy" ratings.
10. Merck (MRK) is a global drugmaker. Its second-quarter net income fell 52% to $752 million and earnings per share tumbled 68% to 24 cents, hurt by a larger float. Revenue soared 92%. The operating margin widened from 28% to 31%.
Merck's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 9.2 and a book value multiple of 2, 28% and 59% discounts to pharmaceutical industry averages. The shares pay a dividend yield of 4.3% with a safe payout ratio of 35%. Of analysts covering Merck, 18, or 69%, advise purchasing its shares and eight recommend holding them. None advocate selling. A median target of $39.73 suggests the shares could rise 13%.
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