The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) may have been flat today -- despite the consummation of Wall Street's long-running on-again, off-again fraud settlement with prosecutors -- but these three stocks surged ahead of the market:

Company

Price Change

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) 2.5%
American Express (NYSE: AXP) 1.3%
DuPont (NYSE: DD) 0.8%

United Technologies is up after Bloomberg reported the company is considering selling at least part of its Hamilton Sundstrand pumps business for as much as $2 billion in order to help it raise money to buy Goodrich. Investors, apparently, prefer this plan to UTX's previous one, which would have financed the deal with a mixture of new stock and debt, though with low interest rates and UTX's moderate valuation and debt burden, it's not obvious why the new plan is blindingly superior to the old one, except that it shows management is serious about figuring out other ways besides just stock and debt to come up with the $16.5 billion it'll have to raise for the acquisition.

After being the worst-performing Dow stock just yesterday, American Express is up today, after last night's strong earnings announcement by Visa (NYSE: V). Revenue and net income were up 14% and 12%, respectively, on heady growth in international transactions and data-processing revenue. Despite its name, American Express actually gets half of its revenue from its international and global divisions.

Federal prosecutors are leveling charges against China that it stole DuPont's titanium dioxide technology. It's been a boom period for makers of the white pigment, and DuPont is the largest producer, with one-fifth of the world's market. It's not clear whether DuPont will receive any compensation for the alleged theft, though the charges could complicate matters for the company's heavy investments in China.

United Technologies, American Express, and DuPont all beat the market today, but it's important for us to remember that it's long-term performance -- not daily price fluctuations -- that ultimately matter for investor returns. If you're interested in one stock that our chief investment officer picked to crush the market in 2012, check out our brand-new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. For a limited time, you can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's free.

Ilan Moscovitz doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Visa and creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. 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.