These Dow Stocks Sank but Didn't Plunge


You can tell it's a bad day for the markets when all 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) drop. But election disappointment on Wall Street, renewed rioting in Greece, and concerns about worldwide economic growth all contributed to a plunging Dow, which was down almost 370 points earlier in the session before recovering somewhat to finish the day with a 313-point loss. The S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) finished with a similar percentage loss of 2.4%.

In fact, things were so bad for the Dow 30 that only three stocks managed to limit their losses to less than 1%. For the most part, they were exactly the sort of stocks you'd expect to thrive in a down market: defensive issues with resilient demand even in slowing economic conditions.

Disney (NYS: DIS) lost three-quarters of a percent, which gave it the best performance of the day for a Dow stock. The company reports earnings tomorrow, with predictions for a roughly 15% boost in earnings on 5% higher revenue. One thing Disney shareholders will be disappointed about is the end of the election campaign season, which represents a huge portion of overall ad revenue for its television media group. But positive moves like its acquisition of Lucasfilm should help Disney weather any economic storm.

Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) fell just less than 1%, playing its usual role as the poster child for tough economic times. During the 2008 recession and bear market, Wal-Mart actually gained ground, as shoppers moved down from pricier retail outlets to do more of their shopping at Wal-Mart stores. If the same holds true this time around, it could mark a new move up for the stock, which moved to all-time highs in the past month.

Finally, Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) also managed to come in with a loss barely under the 1% mark. J&J has struggled with product recalls and slow growth recently, but it's still a bellwether in the health-care space, with exposure to pharmaceuticals, consumer health-care products, and medical devices. People won't stop needing Band-Aids, and so even if a recession comes, J&J should hold up relatively well compared to some other Dow stocks.

Be safe
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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Walt Disney and Johnson & Johnson. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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