Dow Today: Visa (V) 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) closed up 176 points (+1.1%) at 16,838. During the day, 272.9 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 301.3 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 2,433 issues advancing vs. 648 declining with 117 unchanged.
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The Dow component that led the way higher today was Visa (NYSE: V), which sported a $4.13 gain (+2%) bringing the stock to $214.32. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 31.26 points or roughly accounting for 17.8% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Visa ended the day at 2.1 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 2.4 million shares.

Visa has a market cap of $105.15 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 5.6% year-to-date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 0.8%.

Visa Inc., a payments technology company, operates as a retail electronic payments network worldwide. The company facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities.

TheStreet Ratings rates Visa as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Holding the Dow back today was Merck (NYSE: MRK), which lagged the broader Dow index with a 19-cent decline (-0.3%) bringing the stock to $58.42. Volume for Merck ended the day at 9.4 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 8.2 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $169.56 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 17.1% 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 increase in net income, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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