5 Companies That Will Kill the Dow’s Move to 20,000

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Most of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average have risen by double-digit percentages this year. Five are up over 30%. These double-digit stocks have helped push the Dow up almost 13% this year to 19,833. However, these five stocks will keep it from topping 20,000.

Pfizer

Even though the huge pharmaceutical company raised its dividend by 7%, it has disappointed investors with three quarters of poor guidance. In its most recently reported quarter, at $0.61 per share, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) missed Wall Street earnings estimates by two cents. Looking forward, management was more pessimistic than expected. Pfizer chopped its earnings forecast for the year from a range of $2.38 to $2.48 per share to a new range of $2.38 to $2.43.

Whatever rally the Dow stages, Pfizer will be a boat anchor. Investors have no reason to believe its prospects will improve until early next year, if at all.

Coca-Cola

Coke’s old CEO is out and another Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) executive is in. That probably has little to do with Coke’s major problems, which will not be easy to solve. The first is a relentless drum beat from health experts about the dangers of sugar. As obesity and diabetes grow across most of the developed world, the old snacks are being replaced by healthier foods. In the emerging markets, slowing economies may undermine consumer spending. Coke has few large markets to turn to for growth.

Intel

This huge chip company restructured early this year. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) plans to fire 12,000 people, which is over 10% of its global workforce. More recently, it let go the employees from its wearable division. Intel has shrinking opportunities as it moves away from the low-end PC chip market and toward mobile and server markets, which are already awash in competition from firms that have been in those businesses for years. Note that chip maker and rival NVIDIA is among the S&P 500 stocks that are up the most so far this year.

Apple

Between fights with the European Union over billions of dollars in taxes and worry that the iPhone 7 will not have a holiday home run, Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock has reached a near-term cap. In addition, its offshore manufacturing has been a perfect target for President-elect Trump’s plans to punish American companies with workforces or supplier workforces that are largely overseas.

There is also a growing body of evidence that Apple is struggling in China, largely because of competition from local mobile companies Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi. CEO Tim Cook says Apple’s success hinges on sales in China.

General Electric

The world’s largest conglomerate has failed at a series of reinventions, one of the biggest of which is a recent plan to move away from the financial services business that nearly swamped General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) during the financial crisis. Management recently backed its guidance for the year ahead.

And the company plans to sell its water business and part of its industrial division. GE’s aviation business worries investors as the market for large commercial planes slows. GE’s mining and drilling infrastructure operations have a limited future, unless oil exploration and commodities metals prices have a large bounce back.

Dow 20,000 does not need all of the index’s components to do well. However, these five could be a big enough drag to keep it short of that milestone.