Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Leads The Day Higher, United Technologies (UTX) 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) closed down 70.0 points (-0.4%) at 16,912. During the day, 380.6 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 305 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 1,194 issues advancing vs. 1,832 declining with 157 unchanged.
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The Dow component that led the way higher today was Merck (NYSE: MRK), which sported a 61-cent gain (+1.1%) bringing the stock to $58.58. Volume for Merck ended the day at 10.2 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of nine million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $169.94 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 15.8% year-to-date as of Monday'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 increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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