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.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) set a number of new records this past week. The index rose to heights never before seen, notched an impressive six-day winning streak, and achieved a feat that it had yet to accomplish all year: Not a single one of its 30 components finished the week lower.
The Dow increased during three of the holiday-shortened week's four trading days and gained 257 points, or 1.58%, The blue-chip index now sits at 16,478. The S&P 500, meanwhile, rose higher by 23 points, or 1.26%, while the Nasdaq jumped higher by 51 points -- also a 1.26% gain.
The closest the Dow had come to being completely in the black this year was during the first week of January and the second week of September, when just one component finished lower. Since there weren't actually any losers on the index this week, I'll instead review the three components that increased the least.
But first, let's look at the top performer on the Dow: Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) , which rose 4.21% this past week on very little news. The stock's high dividend yield has landed it on the Dogs of the Dow list for 2014, and some investors believe that when a traditionally stable large-cap company stumbles one year, it could be set for big gains the following year. Cisco is up only 12% year to date, making it one of the Dow's worst performers in 2013. While the Dogs of the Dow and other investing strategies have performed well in some instances, investors should always focus on company fundamentals rather than picking stocks based on past performance. Remember, past performance is no indication of future results.
Last week's big "losers"
This past week's Dow laggards shouldn't come as a surprise. Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , the Dow's top performing stock year to date, was the worst performer this week, as shares rose just 0.16%. The other two were Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) , which increased by 0.28%, and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , which rose 0.2%.
As for Boeing, the stock is up more than 81% year to date, while the Dow itself is up only 25% and the next best performer of 2013 is American Express, which has climbed 55%. With Boeing outperforming so much during the year, it's not a surprise to see shares struggling now. Investors may be selling shares as the end of the year nears and they readjust their portfolios for 2014.
As for Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, the stalwart companies typically experience slow revenue and earnings growth but are considered to be extremely safe investments. With their extremely stable and reliable dividends -- both currently yield 2.9% -- many investors have shifted from bonds to these dividend aristocrats over the past few years as bond yields have plummeted. But now that the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its bond-buying program in January, Treasury yields have begun to rise, and we may see equity investors shift back to bonds with the greater potential for decent rates of return. The mediocre performance for J&J and P&G this week may well be a sign that investors' hunger for the safety of these stocks is waning.
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