Dow Jones (DJIA) Today: Merck (MRK) Leads The Day Higher, Goldman Sachs Group (GS) 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..

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) closed down 116.0 points (-0.6%) at 18,010. During the day, 395.6 million shares of the 30 Dow components have changed hands vs. an average daily trading volume of 360.6 million. The NYSE advances/declines ratio closed at 952 issues advancing vs. 2,105 declining with 136 unchanged.
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The Dow component that led the way higher today was Merck (NYSE: MRK), which sported a $1.19 gain (+2%) bringing the stock to $60.89. Volume for Merck ended the day at 19.8 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 11.3 million shares.

Merck has a market cap of $167.99 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 5.1% year-to-date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 3%.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides health care solutions worldwide.

TheStreet Ratings rates Merck as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Holding the Dow back today was Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS), which lagged the broader Dow index with a $2.29 decline (-1.1%) bringing the stock to $206.19. This single loss is lowering the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 17.33 points or roughly accounting for 14.9% of the Dow's overall loss. Volume for Goldman Sachs Group ended the day at 2.2 million shares traded vs. an average daily trading volume of 2.4 million shares.

Goldman Sachs Group has a market cap of $90.32 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are up 7.6% year-to-date as of Thursday's close. The stock's dividend yield sits at 1.2%.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. operates as an investment banking, securities, and investment management company worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Investment Banking, Institutional Client Services, Investing & Lending, and Investment Management.

TheStreet Ratings rates Goldman Sachs Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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