Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Leads The Day Higher, Caterpillar (CAT) 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 11 points at 17,078. During the day, 255.2 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 295 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 1,398 issues advancing vs. 1,669 declining with 141 unchanged.
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The Dow component that led the way higher today was Merck (NYSE: MRK), which sported a 69-cent gain (+1.1%) bringing the stock to $60.48. This single gain lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 5.22 points or roughly accounting for 47.5% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck ended the day at nine million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 8.1 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $173.4 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 19.5% year-to-date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.9%.

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 solid stock price performance, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Holding the Dow back today was Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), which lagged the broader Dow index with a 46-cent decline (-0.4%) bringing the stock to $108.46. Volume for Caterpillar ended the day at 4.1 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 3.8 million shares.

Caterpillar has a market cap of $68.48 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector and industrial industry. Shares are up 19.9% year-to-date as of Tuesday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.6%.

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates Caterpillar as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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