Caterpillar's Bounce Leads the Dow's Record Rise

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Stocks haven't been shy about smashing records lately, and the markets have gone right back to work to kick off the short week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has hovered in the green all day and has risen to gains of more than 40 points as of 2:30 p.m. EST, while the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC  ) breached the 4,000-point mark earlier in the trading session.

Caterpillar's (NYSE: CAT  ) making waves today by leading the Dow Jones higher with gains of more than 2%, while Johnson & Johnson  (NYSE: JNJ  )  is putting up a strong showing from health care after receiving a welcome approval from the FDA over the weekend. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Caterpillar grabs a raise
Bank of America handed out both a price target raise and an upgrade to Caterpillar today, boosting its opinion of the manufacturing leader's stock from neutral to buy. BofA's betting on Caterpillar's struggling power systems business to help its shares in 2014. Through the first nine months of 2013, Caterpillar's power systems branch has seen sales fall by roughly 10%.

That's far less than the massive drop the company's resource industries branch has suffered, however. With the mining industry still in decline, Caterpillar will have to hope one of its businesses manages to make up some ground next year. This stock has ranked dead last year to date among all of the Dow's 30 blue-chip picks. The manufacturing industry as a whole has declined, with the mining industry's collapse and the oversupply issues in some materials industries, making a rebound there seem a dicey proposition for Caterpillar next year.

However, this company has maintained its leadership spot in the industrials sector despite its downturn. Manufacturing's a cyclical industry, and when demand rises again -- something that may take more than just a single year -- Caterpillar will be ready and well-positioned to capitalize.

Johnson & Johnson's gained 0.6% so far after U.S. regulators approved its chronic hepatitis C treatment candidate simeprevir late Friday. The hepatitis C market is exploding across the pharmaceutical industry, and while simeprevir's not among the major developmental all-oral hep C treatments that are the rage among Wall Street analysts today, it's still a welcome approval for Johnson & Johnson investors.

Peak sales estimates for the drug vary around the $400 million-$600 million mark. That's not enough to make simeprevir one of J&J's top drugs, but it's enough to add another solid piece to this company's outstanding and well-balanced pharmaceutical portfolio. Considering that Johnson & Johnson's drug business grew revenue by 10% in the third quarter, investors should be delighted by the ongoing success at the company's most successful division.

How you can make the most from big dividends
Johnson & Johnson and Caterpillar are playing the long game-a strategy that's sound for dividend investors. But are dividend stocks like these the best way to orient your investing strategy? While dividend stocks don't garner the notoriety of high-flying growth stocks, they're also less likely to crash and burn. And over the long term, the compounding effect of the quarterly payouts, as well as their growth, adds up faster than most investors imagine. With this in mind, our analysts sat down to identify the absolute best of the best when it comes to rock-solid dividend stocks, drawing up a list in this free report of nine that fit the bill. To discover the identities of these companies before the rest of the market catches on, you can download this valuable free report by simply clicking here now.


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