On March 5, the Dow Jones Industrials set a new all-time record high for the first time in more than five years. Since then, though, the Dow has advanced to yet higher records 17 times, with yesterday's new record marking gains of more than 850 points from the March 5 close.
Many investors thought that as soon as the Dow finally matched its late-2007 highs, it would inevitably have to correct. But thanks to some extremely strong performance from some of its component stocks, the Dow has been able to keep moving higher. Let's take a look at the four stocks that have advanced the most since the Dow's initial March 5 record close.
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), up 20.4% For The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) to top the list of Dow performers since early March comes as little surprise to those who've followed the tale of the beleaguered aircraft maker. Two months ago, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was still embroiled in the controversy over its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which had been grounded because of fire risks in its lithium-ion battery systems. Yet the company has now gotten FAA approval for a solution to the battery problem, and airlines in the U.S. and Japan expect to start flying their aircraft again in the next month. With the 787 episode hopefully behind it, Boeing can focus once more on meeting production quotas and getting its backlog of orders worked down.
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), up 19% For The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), the biggest news over the past two months has been the successful release of its blockbuster Iron Man 3, which had already done extremely well internationally even before its May 3 U.S. release. Yet The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has even greater potential ahead, as it starts to digest its recent acquisition of Lucasfilm by inking deals with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) to produce video games based on the popular Star Wars franchise. Combine that with the potential of its theme park and network businesses, and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) looks poised for continued success.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), up 18% Two months ago, health-insurance giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) looked like it might suffer huge reimbursement cuts from the federal government in its Medicare Advantage program. Yet since then, the government agency overseeing Medicare surprised investors by increasing reimbursements. Future cuts may loom on the horizon, but investors have gotten more comfortable with what Obamacare will mean for UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) and have thus been willing to bid up shares.