It was a wild week on Wall Street, as stocks sold off for seemingly no reason at all. Consumer confidence was up, employment numbers were good, and even earnings got off to a decent start, yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 2.35% by the end of the week.
A pullback isn't shocking at this point, given that last year's gains were driven almost entirely by margin expansion, but the timing is odd given the positive economic data. Interestingly, investors are fleeing growth names for big, stable companies they can rely on in turbulent times.
The Dow's top three
IBM (NYSE:IBM) led the Dow this week, climbing 1.8%. The company acquired Silverpop, a company that helps marketers deliver personalized customer engagements. It's not an earth-shattering move but it will add to the company's offerings. The bigger reason IBM was up this week was its stable business and 1.9% dividend yield. Investors moved toward stable names like IBM this week.
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) was up 1.5% this week despite fierce competition in the fast-food business. The company is offering free coffee, in part, to combat Taco Bell's new push into breakfast. Despite its challenges against fast casual, McDonald's is still a steady company and often does well when markets are in turmoil. That was definitely the case this week.
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) rounded out the top three stocks on the Dow, climbing 1.2%. The company sold its pet-food business to Mars for $2.9 billion in an effort to focus on its core business. P&G has sold off businesses like pet food and Pringles in recent years and is now focused on its consumer staple business, which can benefit from the company's scale. Non-core products didn't benefit from the same scale, which is why the move makes sense.