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All good things must come to an end, and with the stock market, today finally represented a break from recent success. Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) suffered one minor loss last week, the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) was on a six-day winning streak entering the day. But the broad average couldn't sustain its strength today, and even though a late rise helped cut the market's losses, stocks generally fell, with the Dow losing 39 points.
Despite the weakness, a handful of Dow stocks rose. American Express (NYSE: AXP ) gained about half a percent even as most of its credit-card network rivals lost ground. Despite no apparent news today that would explain the gains, AmEx has taken great strides lately to stay relevant by focusing more on mobile payments and other technological innovations. The news last month that a WTO victory regarding China's UnionPay card payment processing network stands to open the door for AmEx to compete in Chinese market, which could drive growth for years to come.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) also climbed almost half a percent. Follow-through from last week's earnings beat may have contributed to the gains, but Fool Blog Network member Kevin Gill suggests an interesting driver for long-term growth: a possible baby boom. His theory is that the recession led some would-be parents to delay having children, which could spark a catch-up in birth rates in the coming years, benefiting Disney's child-focused businesses.
Finally, 3M (NYSE: MMM ) gained fractionally after Barron's mentioned it in an article about the recent stock market rally. 3M is just one example of a stock whose dividend yield exceeds the interest rate on its 10-year bonds. As long as that situation continues, many companies may face pressure to increase buybacks, given the positive impact on cash flow that such moves would create.
Taking a break
Speaking of dividends, it can be nice on a down day for the market to realize that owning healthy dividend stocks means getting quarterly income that can offset any losses or add to gains. The Motley Fool's special report on the Dow can tell you a whole lot more about three Dow stocks with fast growth as well as dividend strength. The report is absolutely free, so get your copy today.