Calling any stock on the Dow Jones Industrials Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) a winner today is a relative title. Though the index fell only 0.47% for the day, 23 of its components ended in the red, and the seven companies that appreciated today had a whopping 0.3% gain on average.
With that in mind, let's see who led this brave pack of outperformers to shoulder-shrugging gains today.
- Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) led the charge with a respectable 0.83% pop for the day. Frankly, there isn't a lot of news moving the stock today -- that is, unless you consider a chewable tablet version of Pepto-Bismol or the announcement from Gillette Canada that the next season of Gillette DRAFTED will include more viewer involvement than before to be "news." Sarcasm aside, though, it's good to see Procter & Gamble putting up a reasonably strong day after getting hit hard when it lowered its fiscal 2012 guidance. I still believe this is one of the best buy-and-hold stocks out there, even if 2012 isn't a blowout year. It's the model set-and-forget stock that you can sleep soundly owning.
- Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rose an ordinary 0.62% for the day, but that's not bad considering the broad market performance. I expect the company to trade at average volume leading up to its earnings on May 8, giving investors a few days to measure the potential success of the company's next blockbuster, The Avengers, which needs a strong performance after the epic flop of John Carter. Short-term studio woes aside, though, Disney remains a creative and well-run company that I expect to outperform in the years to come.
- Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) continues its gravity-defying upward march for the year, with a 0.4% gain for the day. In typical Coca-Cola fashion, the company takes a steady-as-she goes approach to beating the market. You'll rarely see huge swings in a given day, but instead lots of seemingly average gains like this. Those little bits add up over time, and it's one reason the stock is up almost 11% year to date while the Dow is up 8%, and rival PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) is virtually flat with a 0.8% gain. As an investor in both stocks, I'm glad to see sugar prices as low as they are to help keep their margins up.
What to make of it
One of the problems with investing in any of these Dow stocks is that the cat is out of the bag with most of them. Most investors recognize they're all great stocks for the long run, and as a result it's hard to get an edge on any of them. That's why you have to look at those stocks still flying under Wall Street's radar. You can start with the stock our chief investment officer has named The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012. You can learn more about this could-be multibagger.