Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Higher

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 67.0 points (-0.5%) at 12,705 as of Monday, Jul 9, 2012, 12:35 p.m. ET. During this time, 212.7 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 696.1 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,083 issues advancing vs. 1,817 declining with 148 unchanged.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a 66-cent gain (+1.6%) bringing the stock to $42.17. Volume for Merck currently sits at 9.1 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 14.5 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $126.62 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 10.4% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4%.

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 18.6, equal to the average drugs industry P/E ratio 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 solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.