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Dow Today: UnitedHealth Group (UNH) 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 up 40 points (+0.3%) at 13,534 as of Thursday, Oct 4, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 32.9 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 578.3 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,816 issues advancing vs. 793 declining with 188 unchanged.

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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), which is sporting a 49-cent gain (+0.9%) bringing the stock to $57.35. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 3.71 points or roughly accounting for 9.3% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for UnitedHealth Group currently sits at 488,674 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 6.5 million shares.

UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $58.66 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 12.1% year to date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.5%.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.5, equal to the average health services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates UnitedHealth Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Holding back the Dow today is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 50-cent decline (-3.4%) bringing the stock to $14.41. Volume for Hewlett-Packard currently sits at 9.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 22 million shares.

Hewlett-Packard has a market cap of $33.68 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer hardware industry. Shares are down 42.1% year to date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.1%.

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.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hewlett-Packard as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally high debt management risk.

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DOW 16,979.13 +59.54 0.35%
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