Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Leads The Day Higher, Pfizer (PFE) 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 41 points (+0.3%) at 14,041 as of Monday, Feb 25, 2013, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 33.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 623.3 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,960 issues advancing vs. 715 declining with 171 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a 43-cent gain (+1%) bringing the stock to $43.40. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 3.25 points or roughly accounting for 7.9% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck currently sits at 553,900 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 14.2 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $129.2 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 5% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4%.

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 19.3, 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 increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Holding back the Dow today is Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 20-cent decline (-0.7%) bringing the stock to $27.18. Volume for Pfizer currently sits at 2.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 32.4 million shares.

Pfizer has a market cap of $201.81 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 9.3% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.5%.

Pfizer Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of medicines for people and animals worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Pfizer 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, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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