Early in 2014 there hasn't been a lot of movement on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI). Not even a weaker-than-expected unemployment report yesterday could send the index down more than a fraction of a percentage point. Still, there are some companies doing well so far this year, like the three that led the Dow this week.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) jumped 3.1% soon after analysts at RBC Capital and Argus both upgraded the stock early in the week. They're arguing that J&J's pharmaceutical unit will lead a recovery over the next few years. There's been a lot of pressure on the entire pharmaceutical industry as R&D has become harder and more expensive, but now that millions more people will have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, there may be more sales opportunities. Time will tell if performance picks up, but these upgrades were enough to send the stock higher this week.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) was also up 3.1% for the week, helped by the end of tense labor negotiations with machinists in Washington state. The machinists' union agreed to a contract that will allow the 777X jetliner to be built in Everett, Wash., along with wings at a nearby facility. The union is giving up a traditional pension, something that's slowly dying in corporate America, but will also get a $10,000 bonus. For Boeing, this brings some labor peace, which can be a challenge for the aircraft maker, and investors like having fewer distractions.
Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) led the tech industry with a modest 1.1% bump this week. CEO John Chambers spoke at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and increased his economic impact estimate of the "Internet of Everything" from $14.4 trillion to $19 trillion by 2020. As devices from watches to traffic lights become smarter, Cisco stands to benefit by selling more networking equipment to companies around the world. What's exciting for investors is that Cisco's forward P/E ratio is just 10.7, it pays a 3.1% dividend yield, and there's about $50 billion in cash on the balance sheet. If Cisco can make the right moves in the "Internet of Everything," there's a huge opportunity for investors.
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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems and Johnson & Johnson and owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.