Dow Component Merck (MRK) To Go Ex-dividend Tomorrow

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 66.0 points (-0.4%) at 15,907 as of Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013, 10:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 90.6 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 375.6 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 749 issues advancing vs. 2,147 declining with 134 unchanged.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013 is the ex-dividend date for Dow component Merck (NYSE: MRK). Owners of shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 44 cents per share. At a price of $48.93 as of 10:35 a.m. ET, the dividend yield is 3.5% compared to the average Dow component yield of 2.5%.

The average volume for Merck has been 13.7 million shares per day over the past 30 days. Merck has a market cap of $144.81 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 21.1% year to date as of Tuesday's close.

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 33.3, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 32.2.
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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, 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.

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