The Top Five Dow Stocks In February
The new year has proved to be a volatile one on the stock markets.
After seeing a sizable correction in January, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are again hitting or near all-time highs. Here is a quick look at the five top-performing Dow stocks in the past month. Note that all of them are currently trading near their 52-week highs.
The share price is more than 11 percent higher than a month ago, and it reached a multiyear high this past Friday. Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results early in the month. Over the past six months, the stock has not only outperformed the rest of the Dow, but competing media giants Time Warner and Twenty-First Century Fox as well.
Of the 32 analysts who follow the stock that were surveyed by Thomson/First Call, 20 of them recommend buying shares, with eight of those rating the stock at Strong Buy. However, the mean price target, or where analysts predict the share price will go in the next year, is only marginally higher than the current share price.
See also: Disney Raises Park Admission Prices
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD) shares rose more than nine percent in the past month, and the share price ended last week at a multiyear high. Forbes named it one of the world's most admired companies for the fifth straight year. The stock has outperformed the DJIA over the past six months, but it has underperformed competitor Dow Chemical.
For the past three months, the consensus recommendation of the analysts polled has been to hold shares of DuPont. The share price is higher than their mean price target, meaning that the analysts see no upside potential at this time. At least one analyst sees more than eight percent further upside, though.
After a more than seven percent rise in February, the share price is once more approaching the 52-week high set back in December. The footwear and apparel company selected a new chief information officer during the period. Over the past six months, Nike (NYSE: NKE) has outperformed the broader markets, but it has underperformed the likes of Under Armour.
Fifteen of the 27 analysts surveyed recommend buying shares, with five of them rating the stock at Strong Buy. Yet their mean price target is less than four higher than the current share price. That target would be a new multiyear high, though.
Merck (NYSE: MRK) also hit a new 52-week high on Friday, and shares have gained more than seven percent in the past month. In early February, the drug maker agreed to pay $100 million to settle NuvaRing lawsuits. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed competitors GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Pfizer.
More than half of the 20 surveyed analysts recommend buying shares, but none of them recommend selling. The share price has overrun the analysts' mean price target, indicating that they see no potential upside at this time. However, the street-high price target is more than 12 percent higher than the current share price.
Shares have seen an almost seven percent gain in the past month and are now trading near the 52-week high. The company said its online bill payment service grew to more than 50,000 participating care providers. Over the past six months, UnitedHealth has underperformed fellow health care plan providers Aetna and Humana.
Ten of the 24 analysts rate UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) at Strong Buy and another 10 also recommend buying shares. They see some headroom for shares, as their mean price target is more than six percent higher than the current share price. That target would be a new multiyear high as well.
At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.
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