This Week's Top Stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had a rough week, but IBM, McDonald's, and Procter & Gamble did well for investors.

Apr 12, 2014 at 1:00PM

It was a wild week on Wall Street, as stocks sold off for seemingly no reason at all. Consumer confidence was up, employment numbers were good, and even earnings got off to a decent start, yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 2.35% by the end of the week.

A pullback isn't shocking at this point, given that last year's gains were driven almost entirely by margin expansion, but the timing is odd given the positive economic data. Interestingly, investors are fleeing growth names for big, stable companies they can rely on in turbulent times.

The Dow's top three
IBM (NYSE:IBM) led the Dow this week, climbing 1.8%. The company acquired Silverpop, a company that helps marketers deliver personalized customer engagements. It's not an earth-shattering move but it will add to the company's offerings. The bigger reason IBM was up this week was its stable business and 1.9% dividend yield. Investors moved toward stable names like IBM this week.  

Mcd Image

When it comes to safe haven stocks McDonald's is a favorite for investors.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) was up 1.5% this week despite fierce competition in the fast-food business. The company is offering free coffee, in part, to combat Taco Bell's new push into breakfast. Despite its challenges against fast casual, McDonald's is still a steady company and often does well when markets are in turmoil. That was definitely the case this week.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) rounded out the top three stocks on the Dow, climbing 1.2%. The company sold its pet-food business to Mars for $2.9 billion in an effort to focus on its core business. P&G has sold off businesses like pet food and Pringles in recent years and is now focused on its consumer staple business, which can benefit from the company's scale. Non-core products didn't benefit from the same scale, which is why the move makes sense.  

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
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Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of McDonald's and Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool recommends Procter & Gamble and owns shares of IBM and McDonald's. 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 insightsmakes 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. 

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