2015 marks the sixth year of the bull market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has now not seen a 10% correction in about three years, while investors keep lining up to buy stocks on every little pullback. The Dow is up 1.6% so far in 2015, and 24/7 Wall St. laid out how the Dow could reach 19,142 in 2015. Still, investors should know that 11 of the 30 Dow stocks are actually down so far in 2015.
24/7 Wall St. wanted to review the five Dow stocks that are up the most so far this year. All five of the top performers have seen double-digit gains.
In order to see what is driving investors here into the top Dow stocks, we looked at the performance versus trading ranges and the consensus analyst targets. On top of adding color on each top performer, we also looked at the dividend yield and also what the most optimistic analysts were calling for.
All but one of the top five stocks are expected by most analysts to keep rising, and the most optimistic analyst call on each is far higher than the consensus. As a reminder, 24/7 Wall St. showed the bull and bear case for the DJIA reaching 19,142 in 2015 — and a bull and bear case was made on each DJIA component as well.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) is the surprise leader of the Dow in 2015, with the largest health insurer in the nation having a year-to-date gain of 20.7%. Most investors think of UnitedHealth as a health care company because it is the largest insurer in America. Just remember that, despite the controversy around Obamacare and insurance, this is actually just a financial interface for consumers to pay for and to access their health care. The latest earnings report showed that things keep chugging along and that it can keep growing. This insurer remains a top pick of star portfolio managers as well.
Trading at $121.60, UnitedHealth shares have a 52-week range of $74.26 to $123.76, and the stock has a consensus analyst target price of $134.90. The highest analyst price target is all the way up at $149. The dividend yield of 1.3% has much higher to go, although the company has to be careful not to flaunt earnings and distributions too much in the current environment.
Though it was the best Dow stock of 2013, now Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is the second best performer so far in 2015, with a gain of 17.6%. Boeing is flying high on new plane orders already on the books, and the backlog is becoming such a large number that it is larger than many national economies.
Trading at $151.97, Boeing has a 52-week range of $116.32 to $158.83. The aerospace and defense contractor has a consensus price target just above $162, and the highest analyst target is $196. Boeing’s yield of 2.4% has room to grow.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) keeps firing on all cylinders. Its gain is now the number-three spot on the Dow, with a total return of 14.7% so far in 2015. As a reminder, the latest Star Wars preview just added $2 billion in new profit for its holders. Disney has many other things going for it, all of which have led to a serious victory — and it is considered one of the top revenue growers in the Dow.
Disney recently closed at $108.10, against a 52-week range of $76.88 to $108.94. One thing to consider here is that the stock has risen above the consensus price target of $107.52, but the highest analyst price target is up at $124. Disney keeps raising its dividend, but the yield of 1.1% just simply cannot keep up with the performance of the stock.
The newest DJIA entrant, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) joined the index after the start of the year. Maybe this deserves a caveat, but Apple is expected by most analysts to keep chugging along. Its year-to-date gain of 14.8% ranks it as the fourth largest percentage gainer. Everyone loves Apple, and analysts keep raising their targets each week. Apple’s biggest story remains the iPhone 6 and a coming refresh, with the Apple Watch launch acting like more of a sideshow. Apple remains a top pick among top portfolio managers, despite having the largest market cap of all stocks in the world.
Shares are at $126.17, within 52-week range of $74.85 to $133.60, and the consensus price target is $139.95. Apple now has a highest price target of $185, although we just recently had one analyst outline how Apple could rise to $200 or above. Apple’s dividend yield is 1.5%, but is expected to be raised very soon.
Pfizer Co. (NYSE: PFE) is the fifth largest DJIA gainer at 13.9% so far this year, while rival Merck is up not even 3%. Many investors are operating under the premise that Pfizer is on the path to break up into two companies, or maybe even into three companies. Its 3.2% yield also remains a draw. Still, patent cliffs are a constant challenge, and they are forcing Pfizer and other drug giants to look for opportunities in emerging pharma, biotech and internationally.
Pfizer’s $35.19 share price lines up against a 52-week range of $27.51 to $35.53, as well as against a consensus price target of $36.32. Pfizer’s highest analyst price target is officially up at $45, but that is far higher than the norm.