The Dow's Top Stocks of the Week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had a strong week in shortened trading, and Chevron, Coca-Cola, and General Electric led the way.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Apr 19, 2014 at 1:00PM
Markets

The market recovered some of its recent losses this week, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 2.38%. Earnings season began in earnest, and the companies reporting so far are showing decent but not spectacular results. That should be no surprise in the current economic environment, which is highlighted by a stubbornly high unemployment rate and slow GDP growth. But there were a few companies that did exceedingly well this week.

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) led the Dow's gains this week, climbing 5.6%. A general flight to safety has helped Chevron recently as investors sell off riskier tech stocks, but the move might be short lived. Chevron is one of the big oil companies to announce cutbacks in capital spending over the next few years as projects get more expensive and risky. That may improve ROI on projects in the pipeline, but falling production could also result in falling revenue. With oil consumption on the decline in developed countries, it's worth watching whether or not Chevron can grow in the future or is content remaining at its current size.

Demand for gasoline is no longer rising in the U.S., which poses challenges for Chevron long-term.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) was up 5.1% this week despite reporting falling earnings. First-quarter revenue was down 4% to $10.58 billion and net income fell 8.5% to $1.62 billion. But some of the downside was a result of currency headwinds because of a strong dollar. Without currency changes, revenue would have been up 2%, which is decent growth considering the global economic environment. Coca-Cola is also making progress in noncarbonated drinks, which saw a 2% rise in volumes. Coca-Cola's results are going to be flat at best this year, but that's enough for investors looking for value in today's market.

Rounding out the Dow's top three is General Electric (NYSE:GE), which also reported earnings this week. Revenue fell 2%, but keep in mind that GE sold NBCUniversal so the comparison isn't quite apples to apples. On a comparable basis industrial revenue was up 8% and profit in the unit jumped 12% on strong demand in oil and gas and aircraft engines. Overall, demand for manufactured products looks strong, which is good for the core of the economy.