The Top Dow Stocks This Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up big this week, and Home Depot, UnitedHealth Group, and American Express led the way.

Mar 1, 2014 at 1:00PM

Slower than expected economic growth in the fourth quarter couldn't slow down the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) this week, and the index posted a 1.36% gain. The U.S. economy grew just 2.4% last quarter, down from a previous estimate of 3.2%, and may have been affected by weather across the country.  

It's been a rocky start for the Dow in early 2014, with earnings up and the economy growing slowly, but surely investors can still find some big winners on the market. Let's take a look around.

The Dow's top stocks
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) was up 5.5% this week after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Earnings per share rose 7.4% from a year ago to $0.73 and would have been another $0.07 better if the quarter weren't a week shorter than a year earlier.

When retailers are struggling just to stay afloat, Home Depot saw same-store sales rise 4.4% and 4.9% overall. While online retailers are taking share from most bricks-and-mortar retailers, Home Depot has a strong moat because its products are more difficult to sell online. When combined with improvement in the housing market, this makes for one of the best retail stories around right now.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was up 4.7% this week, but it was actually an announcement from competitor Humana that caused the bump. In a regulatory filing, Humana said that Medicare Advantage reimbursement rate cuts would be between 3.5% and 4%, much lower than the previously expected 6% to 7%. UnitedHealth and Humana are two of the largest Medicare Advantage providers in the country, and cuts from the government program would squeeze margins. At the very least, smaller cuts are positive to these insurance companies.  

American Express rounds out the top three Dow stocks, gaining 2.9% for the week. There wasn't much news out about the company, but positive data from the housing sector and a slowly improving consumer are helping the financial-services company draw investors betting on a further recovery. Credit card use is on the rise, and long-term that's a good thing for American Express.

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Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and UnitedHealth Group. 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.

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." 

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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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