How'd These Dow Stocks Rise in Today's Carnage?


The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) have now posted three losing sessions in a row, and even worse, two of those three were significant losses. After a 110-point drop yesterday, the Dow fell by triple digits again, as weakness both in reporting earnings and preannounced guidance yanked the average down almost 130 points.

But as usually happens, a few Dow stocks managed to climb even on a broadly lower day. Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) soared nearly 2% and hit an all-time high as it held its annual investors' meeting. With plans to double its small-format grocery store count, SUPERVALU (NYS: SVU) and other traditional grocery chains could face even more competition. Meanwhile, success with initiatives like layaway and plans for a same-day delivery service are making Wal-Mart more formidable than ever.

JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) rose nearly 1% as CEO Jamie Dimon spoke at an event by the Council on Foreign Relations. Pointing to losses of as much as $10 billion from the bank's purchase of Bear Stearns and ongoing costs from increased regulation, Dimon argued that the biggest threat to the U.S. economy is the coming fiscal cliff, and that lawmakers need to focus on resolving tax policy differences in order to avoid problems if the world's appetite for Treasury debt ever slackens.

Finally, McDonald's (NYS: MCD) gained a third of a percent. The fast-food giant's stock has often acted as a defensive play against economic uncertainty, as consumers often trade down from higher-priced restaurant during times of financial stress. Given that the stock has also largely missed out on the overall rally over the past several months, McDonald's may also simply be playing catch-up.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns warrants on JPMorgan Chase. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of SUPERVALU, McDonald's, and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's and buying calls on SUPERVALU. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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