These 4 Dow Jones Stocks Were Winners In January

Only four of the 30 Dow Jones stocks delivered positive returns in January. Here's how they did it.

Feb 3, 2014 at 2:00PM

January was a brutal month on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) The blue-chip index lost 878 points, or 5.3%. Three member stocks dropped more than 10% last month, all of them tripped up by weak earnings reports.

But it wasn't all bad news for Dow stocks. Four of the 30 member tickers managed to trade higher over the month. This is the story of those four renegade risers in a sea of sinking returns.

UTX Chart

UTX data by YCharts.

United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) just barely scraped out a positive January return, ending the month 0.2% higher. The industrial parts manufacturer beat earnings estimates at midmonth to spark a small share price surge, but lost it all on rumors of the Sikorsky helicopter division being on United's trading block. All told, United Technologies ended up being nearly dead money in January -- which made the stock a top performer in that miserable month.

Up next, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) struggled through most of January, at one point dipping more than 6% lower. But Redmond's fourth-quarter results turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The stock got another boost right at the end of the month on reports that the board may have settled on the third CEO in Microsoft's history. A 1.2% one-month gain may not exactly quicken the pulse, but it's still a welcome break from the market's negative trend.

And now we're getting into more substantial gains. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) had its ups and downs but delivered where it counted. Shares bounced back from pre-earnings pessimism with a 7% surge in two days, crushing Wall Street's estimates thanks to a phenomenally successful cost-cutting program. Caterpillar ended January 3.4% higher. Deliver that kind of monthly returns for a year and you'll end up with a 49% surge, so this is a big one.

But not as big as Merck (NYSE:MRK) and its 5.8% January gain. Do that for a full year and the stock would double. The medical giant entered into a partnership to research cancer diagnostics instruments, reported good results in an FDA review of blood-clot medication trials, and was upgraded by a prestigious analyst firm. Nope, no earnings-related boost for Merck, which reports fourth-quarter results this Wednesday. But this stock was the top performer on the Dow in January, even without any earnings-based catalysts.

So glad that January is done! What's the best investment for the rest of 2014?
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Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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.

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