Dow Today: Verizon Communications (VZ) Leads The Day Higher, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) 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 down 46.0 points (-0.3%) at 14,572 as of Thursday, Apr 18, 2013, 10:20 a.m. ET. During this time, 157.9 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 591.4 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 911 issues advancing vs. 1,829 declining with 175 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), which is sporting a $1.58 gain (+3.2%) bringing the stock to $51.12. Volume for Verizon Communications currently sits at 5.2 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 14 million shares.

Verizon Communications has a market cap of $146.33 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are up 14.5% year to date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4.1%.

Verizon Communications Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 162.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Holding back the Dow today is UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a $2.25 decline (-3.6%) bringing the stock to $59.78. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 17.03 points or roughly accounting for 37% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for UnitedHealth Group currently sits at 7.6 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 6.3 million shares.

UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $64.38 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 14.4% year to date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.4%.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates UnitedHealth Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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