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Dow Today: Kraft Foods (KFT) Leads The Day Higher, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Lags

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 7.0 points at 13,196 as of Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 22.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 661.9 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 882 issues advancing vs. 1,735 declining with 156 unchanged.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Kraft Foods (Nasdaq: KFT), which is sporting a 39-cent gain (+0.9%) bringing the stock to $41.50. Volume for Kraft Foods currently sits at 653,913 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.4 million shares.

Kraft Foods has a market cap of $72.94 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and food & beverage industry. Shares are up 10% year to date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.8%.

Kraft Foods Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets packaged food products worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.3, equal to the average food & beverage industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kraft Foods as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Holding back the Dow today is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 38-cent decline (-1.9%) bringing the stock to $19.55. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 2.88 points or roughly accounting for 41.1% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Hewlett-Packard currently sits at 956,897 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 19.8 million shares.

Hewlett-Packard has a market cap of $38.27 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer hardware industry. Shares are down 24.2% year to date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.6%.

Hewlett-Packard Company and its subsidiaries provide products, technologies, software, solutions, and services to individual consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as well as to the government, health, and education sectors worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.7, above the average computer hardware industry P/E ratio of 7.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hewlett-Packard as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its attractive valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

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