These Stocks Are Crushing the Dow

The Dow (INDEX: ^DJI) is surging again today on another strong jobs report, but some names are doing even better than others.

Once again, cyclicals continue to outperform. Financials such as Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , materials producers such as Alcoa (NYS: AA) , capital goods manufacturers such as Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , and energy companies such as Chevron (NYS: CVX) were among the top performers in the Dow recently.

Unemployment has been ever-so-slowly inching downward in recent months, and investors in economically sensitive industries are keen to find out how the jobs market is faring. Yesterday we found out that unemployment benefits claims declined slightly in the first month of 2012. Today we found out that the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, driving the unemployment rate down to 8.3%

As the economy slowly recovers, investors are increasingly placing their bets on cyclical sectors such as materials, financials, capital goods, and consumer discretionary stocks, while eschewing more stable "defensive" sectors such as consumer staples, telcom, and utilities:


Average Return (year to date)









Health care


Consumer discretionary




Consumer staples






Source: S&P Capital IQ.

An individual jobs report won't make or break cyclicals, but if we continue to see strong employment and manufacturing numbers over the coming months, it's likely they'll continue beating the Dow. If not, they could swing back in the other direction -- hard.

Of course, while it's tempting to focus on day-to-day stock price movements and economic releases, the most important thing for us to remember is to invest in promising stocks for long-term success. If you're interested in one stock that our chief investment officer picked to crush the market in 2012, check out our brand new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a promising company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. For a limited time, you can get instant access to the name of this company by clicking here -- it's free.

At the time thisarticle was published Ilan Moscovitz doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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