3 Dow Stocks That Eked Out Gains Today

After a stellar start to 2012, the stock market looks like it may be starting to hit a wall. Between division within the Federal Reserve about whether a QE3 bond-buying episode should happen and more uncertainty coming from Greece, the market ignored some positive economic data today and moved sharply lower. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) finished the day down 97 points to 12,781.

But a few stocks managed to buck the trend and rise. Let's turn to some of them.

Travelers (NYSE: TRV  ) , up 0.2%
In general, the down market wasn't particularly kind to financial stocks. Viewed in that light, Travelers avoiding a big drop was an unexpected result.

Yet the insurance company also hasn't participated in the rally that started the year. Weak earnings threw a wrench in the company's attempted recovery from a disaster-prone 2011. Yet analysts still expect a full recovery for 2012, and if Travelers can get any cooperation from Mother Nature, it will probably be able to deliver on those hopes.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) , up 0.1%
P&G had the news item of the day as it agreed to sell its Pringles division to Kellogg (NYSE: K  ) for $2.7 billion. Kellogg was one of the rare big winners in the market, jumping more than 5% on the news as the cereal company stands to nearly triple its snack sales worldwide.

Still, the deal has to come as mixed news for P&G. Because the deal is structured as an all-cash transaction, it comes with a big tax bite. In contrast, the original sale to Diamond Foods would have been tax-free because P&G aimed to take Diamond shares in exchange for the division. Given Diamond's turmoil, P&G shareholders are probably just as happy to pay their tax bill and take the money and run.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) , up 0.1%
On a big down day for the market, J&J is doing exactly what you'd expect: letting smart investors play defense. The company didn't have any big news today, unless you count a somewhat-expected move from the Venezuelan government to regulate prices on personal care products in an attempt to combat inflation.

Unquestionably, J&J stands to lose from European turmoil. The company gets more than a quarter of its revenue from Europe, and a slowdown there will have negative ramifications -- especially if it comes with further weakening of the euro against the U.S. dollar. In the long run, though, shareholders will likely expect those effects to be minimal and for J&J to reassume its role as a stalwart stock.

What will Thursday bring?
These stocks managed to add a few pennies to their stock prices today, but who knows what will happen tomorrow? If you invest for the long haul, don't get hung up in all the day-to-day meanderings of the market. Instead, read the Motley Fool's latest special report and learn the names of three stocks that you can ride to riches. The report is free -- but don't wait: Click here and read it today.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger prefers a winner to a small loser most days. You can follow him on Twitter here. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy is always a winner.


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