The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 171.0 points (-1.3%) at 12,550 as of Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012, 1:35 p.m. ET. During this time, 387 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 683.5 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 684 issues advancing vs. 2,248 declining with 124 unchanged.
Holding back the Dow today is Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 92-cent decline (-2.1%) bringing the stock to $42.34. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 6.96 points or roughly accounting for 4.1% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Merck currently sits at 10.3 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 15.4 million shares. Merck has a market cap of $132.03 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 14.8% year to date as of Monday'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 19.4, 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.