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Dow Today: 3M (MMM) Leads The Day Higher, Merck (MRK) 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 20 points (+0.2%) at 13,123 as of Friday, Oct 26, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 21.4 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 565.8 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,443 issues advancing vs. 1,170 declining with 173 unchanged.

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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be 3M (NYSE:MMM), which is sporting a 47-cent gain (+0.5%) bringing the stock to $88.28. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 3.56 points or roughly accounting for 17.8% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for 3M currently sits at 79,022 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 2.8 million shares.

3M has a market cap of $61.11 billion and is part of the conglomerates sector and conglomerates industry. Shares are up 8.1% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.7%.

3M Company operates as a diversified technology company worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.1, equal to the average conglomerates industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates 3M as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Holding back the Dow today is Merck (NYSE:MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 39-cent decline (-0.8%) bringing the stock to $45.91. Volume for Merck currently sits at 686,091 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.7 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $139.73 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 22.8% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.7%.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.9, equal to the average drugs industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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DOW 16,501.65 -12.72 -0.08%
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