This Week's Top 3 Dow Stocks

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up a slight 0.13% in this short week of trading. Investors had little economic data to react to, and outside of some reports of strong retail traffic on Thanksgiving Day, we haven't yet gotten a clear picture of how holiday spending is going. But there were some stocks that did have a nice run this week.

American Express led the Dow this week, gaining 2.3%. The company's "Small Business Saturday" is taking place today, an effort by American Express to promote the importance of small business. It also doesn't hurt that retail spending appeared to be brisk late Thursday and into Friday, the longest Black Friday shopping weekend yet. One advantage American Express has over retailers is that it doesn't care if you spend money at a bricks-and-mortar store or online, as long as you use their card. In that way, American Express may be a better bet for those looking for exposure to consumer spending than retailers are.

Caterpillar was up 2.1% for the week, primarily after getting an upgrade from Bank of America on Monday. Analysts raised their rating from neutral to buy and upped their price target to $100 per share. Upgrades like this can give a short boost to shares and that's what happened with Caterpillar's shares this week.  

3M was the third biggest winner in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this week, with a 1.9% gain. There wasn't any big news out this week, but 3M is gaining favor with investors after posting 5.8% organic growth last quarter. 3M's growth engine hasn't been running at full steam for a long time but Inge Thulin's strategy of spending more on R&D appears to be paying off. When combined with a dividend that's been increased for 55 straight years, and you can see why 3M has nearly doubled the Dow's gain so far this year.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M and American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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