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

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The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) closed up 65 points (+0.4%) at 16,698. During the day, 217.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 363.5 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 2,054 issues advancing vs. 1,009 declining with 142 unchanged.

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The Dow component that led the way higher today was

Merck

(NYSE:

MRK

), which sported a $1.30 gain (+2.3%) bringing the stock to $57.70. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 9.84 points or roughly accounting for 15.1% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck ended the day at 8.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.8 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $166.08 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 12.7% year-to-date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.1%.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck 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, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Holding the Dow back today was

Goldman Sachs Group

(NYSE:

GS

), which lagged the broader Dow index with a 45-cent decline (-0.3%) bringing the stock to $160.74. Volume for Goldman Sachs Group ended the day at 1.8 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.2 million shares.

Goldman Sachs Group has a market cap of $72.34 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 9.1% year-to-date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.4%.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates Goldman Sachs Group as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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