Why These 3 Dow Stocks Lagged Behind Today

Investors didn't have very high hopes about the current earnings season. So even though we're just getting started, the good news that many investors have gotten so far from the companies already reporting are raising optimism across the stock market. By today's close, all 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) were up, with the average rising almost 200 points. The Nasdaq Composite (INDEX: ^IXIC) did even better, with a gain of 1.8%.

But inevitably, some stocks don't do as well in market surges than other stocks do. Let's look at three of the Dow's laggards today.

Intel (NAS: INTC) , up 0.3%
Intel didn't join in the party today, as investors were probably bnervous about tonight's earnings report. What remains to be seen is how the market will react tomorrow.

After the market closed, Intel reported earnings per share of $0.53, which came in ahead of analyst estimates but fell short of last year's earnings. First-quarter revenue also grew at a slow pace. Immediately after the announcement, shares tumbled more than 2% in the after-hours market, suggesting that investors wanted even more from the chipmaker. In the long run, though, it will be far more important for Intel to establish a stronger presence in the mobile-chip market to secure its continuing relevance as the tech revolution ramps up.

Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) , up 0.3%
When everyone else is posting strong earnings, you never want to be the odd stock out. Today, J&J showed the consequences of failing to keep up with its peers.

J&J's earnings weren't all that bad, as the company posted $1.37 in adjusted earnings per share, beating forecasts by $0.02. Moreover, the company boosted full-year 2012 earnings guidance slightly. But as incoming CEO Alex Gorsky takes the reins later this month, shareholders are squarely focused on making sure that J&J's broken reputation for quality control gets a major renovation. With big charges associated with recalls of DePuy medical devices and litigation concerning its schizophrenia treatment Risperdal, Gorsky needs to convince investors that J&J's problems will come to a halt.

Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG) , up 0.4%
It's hard to blame Mom for a stock's underperformance. That's why it's unlikely that today's announcement from P&G launching its "Thank You Mom" campaign, which is focused on the coming Summer Olympics in London later this year, kept shares from climbing as much as the market.

The global scope of the Olympics matches up with P&G's own presence around the world, with more than 180 countries having P&G products available for consumers. As the economy recovers and consumers start thinking about moving back up to premium brands, P&G will want to capture its share of new business and bolster its image on the world stage.

What happens now?
After a big up-move, it's clear that investors expect a lot from the rest of earnings season. To get an edge over your fellow investors, let me invite you to get some insight from The Motley Fool's brand-new special report, which identifies five stocks that investors simply have to watch this earnings season. The report is free, so let me invite you to get the scoopbefore these companies report.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Caplingerdoesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him onTwitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson and Intel.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Fool has adisclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.