Unlike other major market indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has stayed out of bear market territory throughout most of 2022. But the situation changed last week. The Dow briefly entered a bear market only to bounce back a few days later. However, even a slight dip will cause it to again fall more than 20% below its previous high.

Even if the blue chip index becomes firmly entrenched in a bear market, there are still some attractive options for long-term investors. Here are three Dow Jones stocks to buy now. 

1. UnitedHealth Group

Shares of UnitedHealth Group (UNH 0.65%) have risen a little this year. Ordinarily, that would be nothing to crow about. But in the current dismal market, UnitedHealth stands out as a big winner.

UnitedHealth Group is exactly the kind of stock that investors who are afraid to buy stocks should consider. The company's products and services will remain in high demand regardless of what happens with the economy or the stock market. 

Health insurance is UnitedHealth's main claim to fame. However, UnitedHealth's biggest growth driver is its Optum business. Optum's operations include pharmacy benefits management, healthcare data analytics, and value-based care.

UnitedHealth Group isn't just a stock to buy as a defensive play during a market downturn, though. The aging population in the U.S. should provide a strong tailwind for the company over the coming decades. 

2. Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.23%) is currently the second-largest healthcare company in the world based on market cap, trailing behind only UnitedHealth Group. Its stock has also held up better than most in 2022, even with J&J's share price sliding a bit year to date.

Long-term investors have loved Johnson & Johnson for years. The company is about as stable as they come. J&J has survived and thrived through recessions, wars, and major public relations crises. 

The healthcare giant's dividend stands out as one of its main attractions. J&J has increased its dividend for 60 consecutive years, making it a member of the elite group known as Dividend Kings

Sure, Johnson & Johnson hasn't delivered impressive stock gains in recent years. However, that could soon change with the company's plans to spin off its consumer health unit next year. The transaction will leave J&J with faster-growing pharmaceutical and medtech segments.

3. Microsoft

Unlike UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft (MSFT -0.18%) has been a big loser for investors so far in 2022. Shares of the tech titan are down more than 25% year to date.

The strong U.S. dollar especially weighs on Microsoft since it generates much of its revenue in international markets. Microsoft also has felt the sting as companies cut back on advertising spending (hurting its search and LinkedIn businesses) and the PC market deteriorated.

Despite these challenges, Microsoft has gained market share in nearly every category in which it competes. The company remains a leader in multiple areas with strong long-term growth opportunities, including artificial intelligence, cloud computing, collaboration software, and gaming.

The economy and the overall stock market won't remain in the doldrums indefinitely. They'll rebound sooner or later. When that happens, Microsoft should be in an excellent position to emerge as strong as ever.

There's also one other plus for the stock that often goes unnoticed. Microsoft's dividend yield of close to 1.2% is relatively low. However, the company has increased its dividend for 20 consecutive years. Microsoft will likely join the club of Dividend Aristocrats within the next few years. The stock isn't the favorite among income investors that Johnson & Johnson is, but don't dismiss Microsoft's growing dividend.