Dow Today: Verizon Communications (VZ) Leads The Day Higher, Nike (NKE) Lags

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 up 65 points (+0.4%) at 16,286 as of Monday, Dec 23, 2013, 9:35 a.m. ET. During this time, 12.8 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 372.4 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,175 issues advancing vs. 626 declining with 183 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), which is sporting a 56-cent gain (+1.2%) bringing the stock to $48.64. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 4.24 points or roughly accounting for 6.5% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Verizon Communications currently sits at 394,458 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 13 million shares.

Verizon Communications has a market cap of $138.51 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are up 11.1% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 4.4%.

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 63.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Holding back the Dow today is Nike (NYSE: NKE), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 34-cent decline (-0.4%) bringing the stock to $77. Volume for Nike currently sits at 256,220 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.8 million shares.

Nike has a market cap of $55.69 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and consumer non-durables industry. Shares are up 49.9% year to date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.2%.

NIKE, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, marketing, and sale of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories, as well as in the provision of services to men, women, and kids worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nike as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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