The 10 Stocks That Will Lead the DJIA to 20,000

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has recently hit new highs, and the reading of 17,000 is now within striking distance. Another milestone is also not that far out of range — DJIA 20,000! If you consider that DJIA 20,000 only requires a price gain of 17.6% in the next two or three years, then this seems even more reasonable under a continued bull market scenario.

Despite DJIA 20,000 being a reasonable expectation under an improving economy and stable to rising equity market, 24/7 Wall St. wanted to see what all it would take for the DJIA to rise to 20,000. That means key stock by key stock.

First off, by our take only 10 of the 30 Dow stocks need to perform well to take the DJIA to 20,000. The DJIA is weighted in an old-fashion price-weighted ranking. This means that a $200 stock price in the DJIA is worth four times that of a $50 stock, regardless of the company’s market cap. Other indexes use adjusted calculations of the market cap these days.

So, back to the 10 stocks that will run the DJIA up to 20,000 if the bull market continues. IndexArb.com projected on Monday that these 10 stocks in the DJIA account for 53.31% of the entire Dow. The top five account for 31.77% of the DJIA. In short, if the highest priced Dow stocks rally, then the rest of the stocks only have to rise marginally for DJIA 20,000 to be close to reality.

The projection to get to DJIA 20,000 of course implies that the bull market continues. By our take, the bull market seems as though it is likely to be supported by a stable market or a market that keeps gradually rising through 2016. At least that is if you assume the bullish price targets and that gross domestic product (GDP) growth resumes in 2014 and picks up into 2015 and 2016.

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We have also provided a bullish case using the highest analyst price targets from Thomson Reuters, then taking these up above that to reflect a two-year to three-year time frame. Also listed is a synopsis of what will drive each stock.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the largest weighting in the index at 7.94%, making it currently the most important Dow stock. If Visa splits like MasterCard did, then the weightings below will likely pick up. Trading at close to $209, its consensus price target is almost $250, but the highest analyst price target is all the way up at $289. That means the consensus rally should be just under 20%. The rally to the street high call of $289 would be a gain of more than 38%.

For Visa’s case to work out, the global growth of the use of credit, debit and prepaid only needs to continue. Perhaps the merchant service swipe fee issue needs to be set in stone. There seems to be plenty of room for Visa, MasterCard and American Express globally. Visa likely will need to increase its dividend to a more respectable level as well, and earnings growth has to continue, since this already trades at 20 times expected 2015 earnings.