The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) finished up today 0.48%. The average had risen as high as 12,572, or 1.2%, in early trading but fell as the day went on.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average +60.01 [+0.48%] 12,482.07
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +4.58 [+0.36%] 1,293.67

Today's Top 3
1. Merck (NYSE: MRK) lead the pack on an up day for the health-care sector, finishing up 1.3% [$0.50] to end the day at $38.82. The past five years, Merck was the fastest-growing Dow component, increasing its revenue at an annual rate of 16%. While Merck and other big pharma companies are facing a looming patent cliff, Merck had the confidence in November to raise its dividend 10.5% to $0.42 per quarter, giving the company a yield of 4.4%.

2. Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) was right behind Merck today, finishing up 1.29% [$0.25] to end the day at $19.31. The stock was the second most active stock on the Nasdaq today, with nearly 37 million shares traded.

3. United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) took third for the day, up 1.26% [$0.96] to end the day at $77.04. The stock was leading the Dow earlier in the day, when it was up as high as 2.8% to $78.22. The shares had rallied on news of slowing Chinese GDP growth, which many believe will lead to an easing of Chinese monetary policy.

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Fool contributor Dan Dzombak owns shares of Cisco Systems, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.