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Best Dow Jones Stocks This Year Include Last-Minute Surprise

Dow Jones stocks finished the first half of this year up 12.7%, led by Goldman Sachs (GS), American Express (AXP), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), and Chevron (CVH) as the economy continued its rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.




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In the final hours of trading Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) edged past Microsoft (MSFT) to take fifth place.

No. 1 Dow Jones Stock So Far This Year

Goldman Sachs stock is finishing the first half of the year up 43.9%, lifted by brisk market activity and deal making. Shares of the bank, which rose 1.85% in the stock market today, hit a record high earlier this month.

Shares got a boost Monday, when the investment banking giant said it planned to raise its dividend from $1.25 to $2 per share after passing the Federal Reserve’s latest stress test.

Of the Dow Jones stocks mentioned here, Goldman has the highest Composite Rating. That rating stands at 97 out of a best-possible 99. Its EPS Rating is 91.

“The capital markets backdrop remains constructive, led by new equity and debt issuance and a record advisory backlog,” Jefferies analysts said in a research note this month. “With market levels generally still near highs, this has a positive flow through across all of GS’s businesses.”

Analysts there said the bank has been able to gain market share in investment banking and trading. More recent efforts, like consumer banking, have also helped growth.

American Express Stock

The second best performer of the Dow Jones stocks rose 36.6% over the past six months, helped by a rebound in consumer spending. The credit card giant rose 069% on Wednesday.

The stock has a 64 Composite Rating and a 67 EPS Rating. Shares reached a record high this month. The stock’s relative strength line has crept higher since April.

Management for the company has said 2021 would be a transition year. American Express in the first quarter released more than $1 billion in reserves set aside last year to cover for potentially bad loans, as consumers struggled to pay their bills during lockdown.

While travel and entertainment spending is improving, the rollout of vaccinations around the world has been uneven.

“The U.S. looks stronger than not just we but I suspect most of your guests have expected,” CFO Jeffrey Campbell told an analyst at a conference this month. “Outside the U.S., the recovery probably is a little slower than we might have hoped on spending but more or less balances out.”

Walgreens Stock

Walgreens stock is up 31.9% for the first half of this year, making it the third-best performer of all Dow Jones stocks.

Shares, up 1.2% to 52.61 on Wednesday, are also in a flat base with a 57.15 buy point. The stock has a 47 Composite Rating and a 44 EPS Rating.

The drugstore chain in March raised its full-year profit outlook. CFO James Kehoe, in on the company’s quarterly earnings call at that time, said “we remain confident of delivering strong growth in the second half of the fiscal year as the flu season subsides and Covid-19 vaccinations accelerate.”

Bank of America analysts, in a research note this month, said they expected a strong showing from Walgreens when it reports fiscal third-quarter results on July 1. But they said Wall Street’s focus might shift to Walgreens’ plans for digital health efforts and how its new CEO, Roz Brewer, will lead the company in the months ahead.

“While the pace of vaccines across the US has slowed recently, the 4MM+ WBA administered in March, combined with April/May results and the significant gross margin on those vaccines (we estimate >90%), all should be a boon for this quarters bottom-line, even if the benefit is waning,” the analysts said.

Chevron Stock

Chevron stock is up 24% so far this year as crude prices have surged. Shares of the oil major rose 0.9% on Wednesday to 104.72. The stock is in a flat base with a 113.21 buy point.

The International Energy Agency this month said it expected global oil demand to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year.

However, Chevron and other oil names have faced pressure to become greener. More than half of Chevron’s shareholders recently supported a resolution to set targets to reduce emissions.

Chevron has a 31 Composite Rating. Its EPS Rating, at 13, is the weakest of the Dow Jones stocks mentioned here.

JPMorgan Stock

The top bank by market cap was the fifth-best-performing Dow Jones stock in the second half of the year. Shares rose 0.9% Wednesday to give it a year-to-date gain of 22.4%. That was enough to overtake Microsoft, which dipped 0.2% to end with a 21.8% gain.

Like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan announced bigger shareholder returns on Monday, raising its dividend to $1 from 90 cents. A previous stock buyback plan remains in place, it added.

Shares have a Composite Rating of 82 and an EPS Rating of 90.

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