Dow Jones (DJIA) 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) is trading down 13.0 points at 17,621 as of Monday, Nov 17, 2014, 9:36 a.m. ET. During this time, 15 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 320.5 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,294 issues advancing vs. 1,381 declining with 270 unchanged.
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The Dow component leading the way higher looks to be Merck (NYSE: MRK), which is sporting a 67-cent gain (+1.1%) bringing the stock to $59.74. Volume for Merck currently sits at 656,589 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 10.3 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $169.74 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 18% 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 solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Holding back the Dow today is Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), which is lagging the broader Dow index with a 77-cent decline (-0.8%) bringing the stock to $100.57. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 5.83 points or roughly accounting for 44.8% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Caterpillar currently sits at 133,258 shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 4.8 million shares.

Caterpillar has a market cap of $61.21 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector and industrial industry. Shares are up 11.6% year-to-date as of Friday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 2.8%.

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, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. 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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