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Dow Today: Verizon Communications (VZ) Leads The Day Higher, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Lags

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 57.0 points (-0.3%) at 17,043 as of Monday, Jul 21, 2014, 9:36 a.m. ET. During this time, 14.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 304.8 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 660 issues advancing vs. 2,086 declining with 247 unchanged.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), which is sporting an eight-cent gain (+0.2%) bringing the stock to $50.83. Volume for Verizon Communications currently sits at 737,417 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 15.3 million shares.

Verizon Communications has a market cap of $211.03 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are up 3.3% year-to-date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4.2%.

Verizon Communications Inc. provides communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, compelling growth in net income and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Holding back the Dow today is UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a $1.07 decline (-1.3%) bringing the stock to $84.45. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 8.1 points or roughly accounting for 14.2% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for UnitedHealth Group currently sits at 223,042 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.8 million shares.

UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $82.07 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 13.6% year-to-date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.8%.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings rates UnitedHealth Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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