These Stocks Defied the Dow's Decline


Investors have a case of the blues today. Facebook (NAS: FB) disappointed investors with an IPO that took investors on a roller-coaster ride but essentially left them exactly where they started. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) dropped for the sixth straight day and the 12th session of the past 13. But even as Europe continues to leave the world economy at an impasse and fears of a slowing recovery in the U.S. seem to build, a few Dow stocks managed to climb higher and reward shareholders with a longer-term view.

Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) climbed more than 1% today, following through on big gains yesterday after the company announced positive results for its most recent quarter. But another reason the retail giant may be getting investor attention may be its resilience during bad times. During 2008, Wal-Mart performed very well, avoiding the huge losses in the broader stock market. With its fingers on the pulse of price-conscious shoppers, Wal-Mart is a logical defensive choice that's been proven in past crises.

AT&T (NYS: T) also rose by 1%. The wireless carrier expects to take several measures to try to improve margins, including providing shared data plans between tablets and smartphones as well as cutting subsidies on smartphone purchases. The company plans to put a lid on sales growth to minimize the costs that come with upgrades.

Finally, Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) was up 0.9%. A new facility in Mississippi will add only about 35 jobs to a struggling area of the country, but it's just the latest example of how the company is more focused on the U.S. market than many of its peers. At the same time, though, Caterpillar hopes that recently lifted trade sanctions in Myanmar will give the construction-equipment company another foothold in the fast-growing Asian region.

What will next week bring?
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Caplingerdoesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. You can follow him onTwitter.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. 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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