Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Leads The Day Higher, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) 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 33 points (+0.2%) at 16,289 as of Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014, 9:36 a.m. ET. During this time, 20.3 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 425.1 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,676 issues advancing vs. 984 declining with 255 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting an 86-cent gain (+1.6%) bringing the stock to $55.90. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 6.51 points or roughly accounting for 19.7% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck currently sits at 526,745 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 13 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $162.29 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 10% year-to-date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3.1%.

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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Holding back the Dow today is Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 41-cent decline (-0.4%) bringing the stock to $97.04. Volume for Exxon Mobil Corporation currently sits at 330,972 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 12.6 million shares.

Exxon Mobil Corporation has a market cap of $418.21 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 3.7% year-to-date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.7%.

Exxon Mobil Corporation explores and produces for crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2013, the company had approximately 37,661 gross and 31,823 net operated wells.

TheStreet Ratings rates Exxon Mobil Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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