The Dow's Top Stocks of the Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up early this week and United Health Group, Microsoft, and JPMorgan Chase led the way.

Mar 22, 2014 at 1:00PM

A relief rally on Monday masked a pretty slow week on Wall Street this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) gained 182 points Monday after Crimea voted to join Russia in a highly questioned referendum, but the vote didn't seem to spark fear of violence either within the region or from Western forces. Just the idea that conflict could be avoided with the world's No. 1 oil producer, Russia, was enough to get the market off on the right foot.

Stocks fluctuated the rest of the week and gained 1.48% in total. The Federal Reserve tapered its bond-buying program again to $55 billion per month, but there wasn't much in the way of market rattling news. But that doesn't mean we didn't have some big winners on the market this week.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was the Dow's top stock, rising 7.5% for the week. There was further momentum of people signing up for health plans through "Obamacare," and there are even signs that it will increase profits for health insurance. First, a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that market share leaders before Obamacare are remaining market share leaders today. The winners on a state-by-state basis may shift slightly, but UnitedHealth Group and others don't look like they'll lose too many customers to smaller competitors.

From the profit side, WellPoint said this week that it's expecting profits to exceed $8.20 per share from previous guidance versus at least $8.00 per share in previous guidance. The addition of 1 million to 1.3 million net new customers was cited as a main reason for the higher profit. Maybe Obamacare can be good for insurers after all.  

Msft Xbox One Image

Microsoft also lowered the price of Xbox One Titanfall bundle $50 to $450 in response to Playstation 4. Image owned by The Motley Fool.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was the Dow's second best performer, gaining 6.5%. Rumors swirled earlier this week that new CEO Satya Nadella's first major move would be introducing Microsoft Office for the iPad, the world's most popular tablet. Office is a cash cow for Microsoft and the iPad is a huge opportunity, especially because Apple is now giving away its productivity software with new devices. The move would also signal a willingness to work with non-Microsoft products, which may be key as tablets and smartphones run on non-Microsoft software become more common.  

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) rounds out the top Dow stocks with a 5.9% jump this week. The company passed the Federal Reserve's latest stress test, indicating that it could continue to borrow in a deep recession, and announced the sale of its physical commodities business for $3.5 billion. The sale doesn't get the company out of commodities entirely, but it could ease pressure from regulators who think the largest commodity traders are manipulating the market.

How to make money off Obamacare today
Obamacare seems complex, but it doesn't have to be. In only minutes, you can learn the critical facts you need to know in a special free report called "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare." This free guide contains the key information and money-making advice that every American must know. Please click here to access your free copy.

Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Apple and JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint and owns shares of Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and WellPoint. 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.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers