The 3 Stocks Lifting the Dow Right Now

Mr. Market couldn't seem to figure out whether to zig or zag this week but ultimately ended on a high note.

 Index

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) +142.36 +1.17% 12,359.92
Nasdaq +69.07 +2.65% 2,674.22
S&P 500 +20.21 +1.61 1,277.81

Tug-of-war
The indices can't appear to decide whether they want to heave or ho in the tug-of-war between good news and bad, but that doesn't mean some companies haven't made up their mind that they want to be sterling performers regardless.

Source: Miseryindex.us.

The bright spots
Bank of America
(NYSE: BAC  ) is tops this week, and it's the only stock on the Dow to record double-digit gains for the period. The banking giant has picked up 11.2% since Tuesday, a showing that flies in the face of the Dow's worst performer Verizon, which clocked a 4.5% loss over the same period. Most of Bank of America's weekly performance is the product of the positive jobs survey and rumors that officials working on a foreclosure-fraud settlement are thinking about allowing banks to record mortgage restructurings as credits toward expected penalties.

Tech stalwart Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) took the silver for the week. The company is up 8.3% from Tuesday, but that showing isn't a huge surprise, considering the tech-biased Nasdaq is up 2.45% for the same period. Microsoft also had a nice 1.54% push on Friday to end the week, and it's looking pretty cheap, with its massive cash balance and a P/E of only 10.2. Investors should be sure to watch the Windows 8 release this year and see whether the operating system feasts or famines in the market.

Bringing up third for the winners this week is Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) . The media juggernaut closed up 6.4% from Tuesday, with a $39.91 closing price effectively putting it where it started 2011. One of the interesting trends to watch for from Disney into the next year is a content partnership with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) . The duo is looking to pair up unique Disney content with the Internet's third most trafficked website: YouTube. It's a drop in the bucket in terms of both companies' scope, but it's indicative of a move by media and tech titans to lay the future foundation for delivering more content by way of streaming.

Looking past the January effect
The January Effect seems to be on everyone's mind. I think that's a little myopic, and I recommend that investors take a longer-term approach. What better way to get out of that mindset and fix your sights on a good growth story? In fact, I have just the one.

It's not located on the Dow, but you can uncover "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012," in our brand-new free report. We reveal a stock with some of the biggest growth potential I've ever seen. Grab your free copy today before it's gone.

Austin Smith owns no shares of the companies mentioned here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Google, and Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Walt Disney and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. 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.


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