Dow Today: International Business Machines (IBM) 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 60 points (+0.4%) at 17,039. During the day, 257.4 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 302.5 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 1,834 issues advancing vs. 1,204 declining with 157 unchanged.
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The Dow component that led the way higher today was International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), which sported a $1.13 gain (+0.6%) bringing the stock to $191.23. This single gain lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 8.55 points or roughly accounting for 14.3% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for International Business Machines ended the day at 2.5 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.8 million shares.

International Business Machines has a market cap of $189.61 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are up 1.4% year-to-date as of Wednesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.3%.

International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates International Business Machines as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Holding the Dow back today was Merck (NYSE: MRK), which lagged the broader Dow index with a 63-cent decline (-1.1%) bringing the stock to $58.85. Volume for Merck ended the day at 7.6 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 8.3 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $169.93 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 18.8% year-to-date as of Wednesday'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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