Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Higher

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 32 points (+0.2%) at 16,850 as of Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014, 11:36 a.m. ET. During this time, 107.5 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 334.6 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,581 issues advancing vs. 1,360 declining with 196 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a $1.20 gain (+2.1%) bringing the stock to $59.12. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 9.08 points or roughly accounting for 28.4% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck currently sits at 5.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.1 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $172.19 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 15.7% year-to-date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3%.

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, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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