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

) closed up 90 points (+0.7%) at 13,090. During the day, 446.8 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 606.1 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 2,046 issues advancing vs. 870 declining with 151 unchanged.

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The Dow component that led the way higher today was

International Business Machines

(NYSE:

IBM

), which sported a $1.48 gain (+0.8%) bringing the stock to $194.85. This single gain lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 11.2 points or roughly accounting for 12.4% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for International Business Machines ended the day at three million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.6 million shares.

International Business Machines has a market cap of $222.93 billion and is part of the

technology

sector and

computer hardware

industry. Shares are up 6.1% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.7%.

International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. The company operates in five segments: Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems and Technology, and Global Financing. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, equal to the average computer hardware industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates International Business Machines as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Holding the Dow back today was

Merck

(NYSE:

MRK

), which lagged the broader Dow index with a seven-cent decline (-0.2%) bringing the stock to $43.05. Volume for Merck ended the day at 7.7 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 15.1 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $131.14 billion and is part of the

health care

sector and

drugs

industry. Shares are up 14.4% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.9%.

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 19.7, below the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 19.8 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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