Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Higher

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 124 points (+0.8%) at 15,511 as of Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 11:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 331 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 590.4 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,949 issues advancing vs. 943 declining with 129 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a 66-cent gain (+1.4%) bringing the stock to $48. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 5.0 points or roughly accounting for 4% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck currently sits at 17.2 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 16.4 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $136.52 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 15.6% year to date as of Tuesday'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 23.1, 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, good cash flow from operations, 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.

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