The Dow Couldn't Hold Back These 4 Stocks


For the 10th time in 11 days, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) finished the day lower. Today, the average fell late after trading up most of the day, as initial optimism about a potential housing boost gave way to concerns after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its April meeting. The Dow dropped another quarter-percent today, bringing its total losses since May 1 to more than 5%. Gold and oil prices both dropped more than 1%, extending their recent declines.

But a few Dow stocks performed particularly well. General Electric (NYS: GE) was the standout gainer today, rising more than 3% after the company made two big strategic moves. As Fool analyst Austin Smith wrote about earlier today, GE will start getting a dividend from its GE Capital division after three years of suspended payouts. Combined with a buyout offer for Australian mining-equipment maker Industrea, GE is demonstrating that it's back -- and trying to be better than ever.

The Dow's drug contingent also performed well, with Pfizer (NYS: PFE) and Merck (NYS: MRK) both rising more than 1% to put them in the top three. Both drugmakers are trying to figure out how to survive patent expirations of blockbuster drugs, and a combination of consolidation in the industry with strategic divestitures to focus in on pharmaceutical research and development could carry Merck and Pfizer forward. With ever fiercer competition, though, neither company has a free pass to future growth.

Finally, Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) rose nearly 1% after the company got an upgrade from Barclays. After a huge decline, it's reasonable to think that even if Cisco's dour outlook on enterprise spending turns out to be correct, there's only so much downside left for the stock.

Will the market ever rise again?
During losing streaks, it can seem like the stock market will never rise. But just like these Dow stocks, some companies always manage to do well even in tough times. The Motley Fool's special report on long-term investing has several good prospects to consider for anyone who measures performance in years rather than days. Get your free report today!

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 Cisco Systems.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Fool has adisclosure policy.

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