Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Lower

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 7.0 points at 13,163 as of Friday, Dec 14, 2012, 12:35 p.m. ET. During this time, 230.8 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 623 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,443 issues advancing vs. 1,463 declining with 140 unchanged.
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Holding back the Dow today is Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 39-cent decline (-0.9%) bringing the stock to $43.56. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 2.95 points or roughly accounting for 42.1% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Merck currently sits at 5.9 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.9 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $137.59 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 16.6% year to date as of Thursday'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 20.6, 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.

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