Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) is trading down 155.0 points (-1%) at 14,978 as of Thursday, Oct 3, 2013, 11:30 a.m. ET. During this time, 123.1 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 364.4 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 512 issues advancing vs. 2,370 declining with 101 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a nine-cent gain (+0.2%) bringing the stock to $48.46. Volume for Merck currently sits at 6.7 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 11.9 million shares. Merck has a market cap of $139.09 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 16.1% year to date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.6%. Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. 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 and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.