The 3 Stocks That Saved the Dow This Week

What a week it was on the Dow Jones Industrials Average (INDEX: ^DJI) . Just when it looked like the index was going to close out the quarter down more than 5%, the market rallied 2.2% on Friday. The catalyst for the cheer was an agreement by European leaders to prop up ailing banks. Leaders debated until 4:30 in the morning before deciding to allow countries to recapitalize banks directly without increasing their deficit.

With Spanish and Italian bond yields falling sharply on the news, it's no surprise to see the more heavily finance-weighted S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) soaring even higher than The Dow and picking up a 2.5% gain for the day. The run marked the index's single biggest day since Dec. 20.

But because of some weakness in the days leading up to Friday's jump, the Dow ended up closing out the week with just a 1.89% gain. Still not a bad way to end a quarter that looked like it was going to close down more than 4%, though.

Despite being a group effort, there is a handful of Dow stocks did most of the heavy lifting this week. Just three of the 30 components drove 38% of the Dow's 239-point rise this week. Surprisingly, the Dow's biggest weekly winner, General Electric (NYS: GE) , is not one of the three. That's because despite being a $200 billion company, GE has only a paltry 1.22% weighting, because of the Dow's price-weighted structure.

Instead, it was GE's more expensive -- on a per-share basis -- Dow counterparts Chevron (NYS: CVX) , Exxon Mobil, and Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) that drove most of the index's surge. Chevron contributed 39.48 points to the increase, while Exxon and Coca-Cola added 26.79 and 25.16, respectively.

It's no surprise to see Chevron and Exxon at the top of this list, given oil's ridiculous 9.24% climb on Friday alone to $84 per barrel. The European debt crisis has been a big overhang on oil prices recently, with concerns about a Greek exit from the eurozone pulling prices down from well over $100 a barrel recently.

Coca-Cola may not have had quite as obvious of a catalyst. Even though the company collects 27% of its operating profit from Europe, it seemed to rally all week ahead of Friday's news and has only seen marginal difficulties in the region over the last year. Frankly, the news that has me the most excited is the announcement on Tuesday that Coca-Cola will commit an additional $3 billion investment in India over the next eight years, building off a $2 billion plan announced in November.

Three billion dollars over eight years may seem hefty in light of today's current economic threats, but it's music to a long-term investor's ears. India's growth is still among the most impressive of the emerging economies. In the last fiscal year, the country's GDP still grew at 6.5%, and getting in early allows the far-sighted company to build brands and relationships ahead of the competition and grow with the country's rising middle class, much in the same way Unilever planted seeds in emerging markets before Procter & Gamble and now has a better international foothold as a result.

Despite the good news yesterday and the strong weekly showing of these three components, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding Europe. Many investors may be tempted to take their money and run far from the market. But that can be one of the biggest mistakes investors can make. Some of the most successful stock picks are great dividend stocks purchased at attractive valuations on dips in the market. With that in mind, we've taken an in-depth look at all 30 Dow components and picked out our three favorite Dow dividend stocks that investors can buy right now. You can find the names and analyses of these companies in our brand-new free report: "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." Read the report now -- it's absolutely free.

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Austin Smith owns shares of Coca-Cola.The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron and Coca-Cola. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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