While it's still early enough in 2012 for us all to feel like fortune-tellers, it's time to read the tea leaves and make bold bets about which components on the Dow Jones Industrials Average (INDEX: ^DJI) will outperform for 2012. After a rigorous reading of the stars coupled with a strenuous gut check, I've awarded the following three companies the coveted title of Top Dow Stock for 2012.

  • Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). The largest bank in the U.S. was the worst-performing Dow stock of 2011, but it's already erased most of its 2011 loss, and it's only a few weeks into the year. Considering that the bank trades at a historic low price to book of 0.3, this one has the legs to run up for the next year.
  • Already the second-best-performing Dow stock of 2012, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) has the momentum and macro backdrop to continue digging up profits for investors through this year. A highly cyclical business that swings with emerging-market performance, Caterpillar has indicated great things to come with its recent blowout earnings.
  • With big tech as cheap as it is, how could I leave tech titan Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) off this list? With its 3% dividend, great track record, and cheap multiples, what's not to love here?