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 down 13.0 points at 13,044 as of Friday, Aug 24, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 20.2 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 661.9 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 968 issues advancing vs. 1,618 declining with 185 unchanged.

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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be

Merck

(NYSE:

MRK

), which is sporting a 28-cent gain (+0.7%) bringing the stock to $43.09. Volume for Merck currently sits at 422,852 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 15.7 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $134.19 billion and is part of the

health care

sector and

drugs

industry. Shares are up 13.8% 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 19.6, below the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 20.2 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.

Holding back the Dow today is

JPMorgan Chase

(NYSE:

JPM

), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 40-cent decline (-1.1%) bringing the stock to $36.83. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 3.03 points or roughly accounting for 23.3% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for JPMorgan Chase currently sits at one million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 46.4 million shares.

JPMorgan Chase has a market cap of $141.46 billion and is part of the

financial

sector and

banking

industry. Shares are up 13.8% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.2%.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., a financial holding company, provides various financial services worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.7, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 8.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates JPMorgan Chase as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins 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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