The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) is trading down 75 points (-0.6%) at 12,633 as of Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 46.4 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 827.9 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 502 issues advancing vs. 2,068 declining with 149 unchanged.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be

Merck

(NYSE:

MRK

), which is sporting an 18-cent gain (+0.5%) bringing the stock to $38.95. Volume for Merck currently sits at 672,503 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 16.4 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $119.48 billion and is part of the

health care

sector and

drugs

industry. Shares are up 2.8% year to date as of Monday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4.3%.

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 28.6, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 28.4 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, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Holding back the Dow today is

Travelers Companies

(NYSE:

TRV

), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a $1.18 decline (-2%) bringing the stock to $59.11. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 8.93 points or roughly accounting for 11.9% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Travelers Companies currently sits at 157,624 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.9 million shares.

Travelers Companies has a market cap of $25.42 billion and is part of the

financial

sector and

insurance

industry. Shares are up 1.9% year to date as of Monday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.7%.

The Travelers Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals primarily in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.1, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 16.3 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Travelers Companies 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, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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