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 60 points (+0.4%) at 14,515 as of Thursday, Mar 14, 2013, 11:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 189.2 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 618.7 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,735 issues advancing vs. 1,123 declining with 143 unchanged.
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Holding back the Dow today is Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 57-cent decline (-1.3%) bringing the stock to $44.01. Volume for Merck currently sits at 11.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 16.3 million shares. Merck has a market cap of $136.13 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 8.9% year to date as of Wednesday'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 worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.5, 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.