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 down 18.0 points (-0.1%) at 13,007 as of Monday, Dec 3, 2012, 12:35 p.m. ET. During this time, 244.1 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 627.9 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,322 issues advancing vs. 1,595 declining with 126 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a 36-cent gain (+0.8%) bringing the stock to $44.66. Volume for Merck currently sits at 5.7 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 11 million shares. Merck has a market cap of $135.92 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 17.5% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.8%. 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.