Dow Struggles to Hold Record High on Energy Worries, But Visa, 3M Rise

The day after the Dow's first record of 2014, energy earnings pressured the average. Find out why some stocks bucked the trend.

May 1, 2014 at 11:00AM

The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) on Wednesday set a new record for the first time in 2014, poking into all-time high territory by the slightest of margins. Thursday morning, though, the Dow struggled to follow through on those gains, falling seven points as of 11 a.m. EDT. Declines in the Dow's energy stocks following a major earnings announcement kept the blue-chip index down, but gains from Visa (NYSE:V) and 3M (NYSE:MMM) helped prevent a deeper fall and raised hopes that the average would recover to higher levels by the end of the day.


Visa jumped almost 2% after main rival MasterCard (NYSE:MA) reported first-quarter earnings that showed the high-growth potential still available in the card-network space. Both profit and revenue jumped about 14%, with a larger number of transactions and a consequent increase in purchase volumes leading the way in producing growth. Visa investors concluded that the favorable conditions that boosted its rival's prospects during the quarter should hold true for Visa as well. Given that Visa has fallen substantially from its recent highs on exactly those growth worries, the news from elsewhere in the industry reassured investors that the company could see stronger growth on the horizon.

3M, which rose 1.1% in early trading, got good news that validated its efforts to jump-start innovation through increased spending and acquisitions based on boosting research and development. The conglomerate announced that it received two Edison Awards last night for products in completely different segments of its business. A 3M product designed to detect salmonella bacteria in food samples won a silver award, with food-processing companies around the world using the system to reduce costs and detect potentially disastrous outbreaks before food is shipped to users, avoiding the need for costly recalls. Meanwhile, 3M's Novec fluid for cooling data centers to improve performance and reduce energy consumption won a bronze award, with 3M partnering with major semiconductor manufacturers to incorporate the fluid into supercomputer equipment. The awards are only one sign of 3M's R&D efforts, and the company hopes that it can accelerate its growth as a result of this strategic vision of innovation.

As the Dow fights for new highs, it'll be interesting to see if 3M and Visa can extend their gains. The Dow will need leaders to carry it higher in order for investors' wishes for further record gains to come true.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard and Visa. 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.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

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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