The Dow Jones Industrial Average
But there were three stocks in particular that solidly outperformed the Dow this week.
Percent Change This Week
Pfizer hit a four-year high this week, after a Goldman Sachs note to investors saying CEO Ian Read indicated that the company may be willing to split up even further. Goldman analyst Jami Rubin wrote in the note that the company is looking at "strategic alternatives" for its animal health and nutrition businesses. "If the pipeline is successful and drives meaningful top-line growth, management will want to separate the businesses so investors can better value the pharma business," Rubin wrote. Clearly, investors are excited about the possibility of a full-scale breakup a la Abbott Laboratories.
Cisco finished the week up around 3% and is now up nearly 17% on the year. The company announced plans to acquire ClearAccess, a private company that makes software for Internet service providers. Cisco said that ClearAccess' software will help service providers manage mobile and residential devices and will use Cisco's existing network to allow customers to manage their networks across a wide range of devices. Finally, Coca-Cola climbed steadily in the past three days to finish the week up 3.5%. The company will be looking to keep its momentum into next week after slightly underperforming the Dow so far this year, rising 6% versus the Dow's 8%.
Outside the Dow, one of the companies making the most headlines this week was Research In Motion
The big picture
While it's important to pay close attention to the market, it's also important to not to get too worked up about what happens in the short term. The most successful stock picks are usually great businesses that can grow and continue to succeed over many years. Our analysts have uncovered one such company in our new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. You can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's absolutely free.
Brendan Byrnes owns no shares of any company mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, Amazon.com, Abbott Laboratories, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Abbott Laboratories, Amazon.com and Pfizer and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.