Industrials

The 8 Best Performing Dow Stocks of 2015

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24/7 Wall St. has put together a look the top eight Dow stocks of 2015 ahead of Christmas this year. These stocks have made stellar performances, but they have obviously gone above and beyond the performance of the market, especially with the flat year that we have had so far.

Over the course of the past year, all of these top Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks have outperformed the broad markets. Each of these stocks has risen for different reasons.

Nike

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was the absolute best performer on the year thus far. The secret to Nike’s success in 2015 was the strengthening U.S. dollar. And over the course of the year, cheaper imports from this sports apparel giant led to higher margins across the board. Further pumped up by strong earnings reports, Nike was a force to be reckoned with in 2015.

In the past year, Nike stock has risen 36.4%. Shares of Nike closed Monday at $129.80, with a consensus analyst price target of $142.86 and a 52-week trading range of $90.69 to $135.30. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, the company has a multiple of 26.3, compared to the current price.

McDonald’s

Early on in 2015, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was a struggling brand. It actually replaced its CEO in the first month of the year due to perceived underperformance. The stock was relatively flat through the first half of the year, but what kicked this Dow stock into overdrive was the introduction of “all-day breakfast.” Following this, consumers seemingly changed their mind about the golden arches and investors bought in.


McDonald’s stock has risen nearly 30% year to date. The shares closed most recently at $117.69, with a consensus price target of $118.57 and a 52-week range of $87.50 to $118.90. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, McDonald’s has a multiple of 22.0, compared to the current price.

Home Depot

Compared to other Dow stocks, Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) has been on an absolute tear for the past few years. As a leader in home improvement, it’s hard to believe that this retailer would ever fall out of favor with consumers barring something catastrophic like the hack it suffered in 2014. However, strong fundamentals, earnings and a solid balance sheet make this stock a top performer in 2015.

In the past year, the stock has risen 27.6%. Shares of Home Depot closed Monday’s session at $131.31. The consensus analyst price target is $141.00, and the 52-week range is $92.17 to $135.47. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, it has a multiple of 21.2, compared to the current price.
GE

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) can really break its performance down to two instances over the course of 2015, otherwise the stock was more or less flat. Most recently, GE reported third-quarter financial results that were very positive in October. Just preceding this, activist investor Nelson Peltz and Trian Fund Management acquired a significant stake of $98.5 million shares, after which the stock skyrocketed. Earlier in the year, GE announced a massive asset sale, along with an equally large share repurchase plan, which also sent the stock soaring.

GE stock has risen 24.5% year to date. Shares recently closed at $30.40, with in a 52-week trading range of $19.37 to $31.23. The consensus price target is $31.77. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, the company has a multiple of 20.1, compared to the current price.

Microsoft

The stock has been on a roller-coaster ride this year, with long stretches of just trading sideways. The main factor with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) in 2015 was its earnings growth, in both the calendar first and third quarters (fiscal third and first quarters for 2016, respectively). The bottom line contribution for this stock in a market that was very unsure about its destination in 2015 helped provide a solid base for the company to perform on.

In the past year, Microsoft stock has risen 21.3%, and most recently closed at $54.83. The consensus price target is $57.00. The 52-week range is $39.72 to $56.79. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, Microsoft has a multiple of 17.6, compared to the current price.

Visa

The strong dollar benefited Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) this year. When the company acquired its European arm, this added a whole new stream of revenue, and with the weakening euro, Visa gained across the board.


Visa stock has risen 18.6% year to date. Shares last closed at $77.17, with a consensus price target of $86.47 and a 52-week range of $60.00 to $81.01. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, Visa has a multiple of 23.0, compared to the current price.

UnitedHealth

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) has made steady gains over the course of 2015, only really selling off in August and in the second half of the year. But this did not wipe out the gains that this health insurer had for the rest of the year. Despite not finding a merger partner over the summer, UnitedHealth still benefited from the M&A premium in the industry.

In the past year, the stock has risen 18.0%. UnitedHealth shares closed at $117.41, with a consensus price target of $142.13. The 52-week range is $95.00 to $126.21. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, the company has a multiple of 15.2, compared to the current price.

Disney

Despite selling off massively in August, over 20%, Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) still managed to make solid gains in 2015. The mouse house had a nice bounce in the final quarter of 2015. One thing that comes to mind immediately is Star Wars. In just the opening weekend, this movie has shattered all types of box office records, not to mention the merchandising from the franchise is a force to be reckoned with.

Disney stock has risen 14.6% year to date. Shares closed Monday’s session at $106.59. The consensus price target is $119.25, and the 52-week range of $90.00 to $122.08. Looking ahead to 2016 earnings, Disney has a multiple of 17.1, compared to the current price.

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