Dow Today: UnitedHealth Group (UNH) Leads The Day Higher, Merck (MRK) 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 129 points (+0.8%) at 17,072 as of Monday, Jul 14, 2014, 9:36 a.m. ET. During this time, 12.6 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 308.3 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,203 issues advancing vs. 550 declining with 273 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), which is sporting a $1.59 gain (+1.9%) bringing the stock to $84.46. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 12.03 points or roughly accounting for 9.3% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for UnitedHealth Group currently sits at 344,411 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 4.1 million shares.

UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $80.43 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 10.1% year-to-date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.8%.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings rates UnitedHealth Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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 Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a seven-cent decline (-0.1%) bringing the stock to $58.37. Volume for Merck currently sits at 406,354 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 9.4 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $171.19 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 16.8% year-to-date as of Friday'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 increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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