Dow Today: Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) Leads The Day Higher, Alcoa (AA) Lags

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 62.0 points (-0.5%) at 13,103 as of Friday, Aug 10, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 18.9 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 665.8 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 939 issues advancing vs. 1,697 declining with 179 unchanged.

The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT), which is sporting a 27-cent gain (+0.4%) bringing the stock to $74.12. Volume for Wal-Mart Stores currently sits at 294,123 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.8 million shares.

Wal-Mart Stores has a market cap of $251.43 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are up 24.3% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.1%.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. It operates retail stores, restaurants, discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, apparel stores, Sam's Clubs, and neighborhood markets, as well as walmart.com; and samsclub.com. The company has a P/E ratio of 16, equal to the average retail industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Wal-Mart Stores as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Holding back the Dow today is Alcoa (NYSE: AA), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 15-cent decline (-1.7%) bringing the stock to $8.71. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 1.14 points or roughly accounting for 1.8% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Alcoa currently sits at 944,304 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 22.1 million shares.

Alcoa has a market cap of $9.39 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are up 1.7% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.4%.

Alcoa, Inc. engages in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company operates in four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Flat-Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. The company has a P/E ratio of 125.7, above the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 110 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alcoa as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.
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