Dow Today: Merck (MRK) Higher

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 24 points (+0.1%) at 17,102 as of Thursday, Sep 4, 2014, 2:06 p.m. ET. During this time, 152.1 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 297.6 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,466 issues advancing vs. 1,550 declining with 150 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a three-cent gain to $60.51. This single gain is lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 0.23 points or roughly accounting for 1% of the Dow's overall gain. Volume for Merck currently sits at 5.2 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 8.1 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $172.47 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 20.8% year-to-date as of Wednesday'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.

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