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

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 up one points at 13,022 as of Friday, Nov 30, 2012, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 23.4 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 628.5 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,543 issues advancing vs. 1,064 declining with 185 unchanged.
  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

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 $71.10. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 2.04 points or roughly accounting for 204% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Wal-Mart Stores currently sits at 409,529 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 7.4 million shares.

Wal-Mart Stores has a market cap of $237.18 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are up 18.5% year to date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.3%.

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 14.5, 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 solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Holding back the Dow today is Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 34-cent decline (-0.8%) bringing the stock to $44.37. Volume for Merck currently sits at 881,577 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 11.1 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $135.59 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 18.6% 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 20.3, 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, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Holiday Special: Subscribe to Action Alerts PLUS to see how Jim Cramer trades his $2.5 Million+ portfolio for 51% off the list price. Your first 14-days are FREE: Sign up today to get e-mail alerts before every trade.
null

If you liked this article you might like

Target Will Now Pay Workers 50% More Than Federal Minimum Wage Every Hour

Walmart Will Start Offering Meal Kits on Its Website by December

A Defining Moment in Food Stocks Is Upon Us

Amazon Roadkill; Northrop Deal Synergies -- Jim Cramer's Top Thoughts

Food Stocks Go Hungry; China Pressure -- Jim Cramer's Top Thoughts