The Dow's August Standouts

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day ups and downs of the markets. It's important, though, to get at least some longer-term perspective if you want to tap into more important trends that can lead to strong returns for your portfolio.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the stocks of the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI  ) that have made the biggest moves so far this month. Even with a few days left to go in the month, the Dow has struggled to find direction, as it's bounced around yet remains less than 1% above where it closed July.

On the upside, the biggest mover of the month by far has been Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , soaring more than 20%. Half of that gain came on a single day in the middle of the month, after the company reported narrow earnings beats but more importantly announced a huge 75% boost to its dividend payout. After years of watching CEO John Chambers pessimistically predict headwinds for the networking giant, Cisco is finally starting to reward shareholders for their patience. The dividend, which now represents nearly a 3% payout, should do wonders for improving investor morale.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) has also done fairly well, rising almost 10%. Problems in Europe had started raising their ugly head in past months, and B of A remains significantly exposed to European economic woes. But to a large extent, those concerns have dissipated during August, and investors are now optimistic that Europe will find a solution to its problems and send beaten-down stocks soaring.

On the other side of the coin, some Dow stocks continue to struggle. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) hasn't emerged from its long slide, as the Dow's big loser today brought its losses to about 7% for the month coming into the session. Today's news that Lexmark would exit the inkjet-printer business in favor of more profitable imaging and software adds to the pressure that HP is feeling, as it considers its own major strategic shift away from low-margin hardware toward higher-margin services. Thus far, though, HP's moves haven't inspired investors' confidence.

Another loser for August is Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) , which is down about 6% for the month. Despite the beverage company's long dominance of the industry, Coke is facing some of the same problems that its peers have to deal with, including higher input costs and slowing economic growth around the world.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanCaplinger. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2012, at 5:09 AM, wgensler114 wrote:

    WATCH THIS OIL AND GAS STOCK FOR NOW AND 2013. THE STOCK SYMBOL IS == KOG == IT IS NOW SELLING FOR $8.99. BUT IN MY OPINION IT WILL GO TO 412 or $14.00 A SHARE BY THE END OF 2013. ALSO WATCH ==CSCO== AND == SBUX == FOR 2013.

    UNITED STEEL==X== MIGHT SURPRISE EVERY ONE. I WOULD SELL ==V== IF IT HITS $134.00 , AGAIN. FCX , ETN , POT COULD MOVE HIGHER ON THE LONG-TERM. THESE ARE JUST MY OPINIONS.

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