With sentiment where it was at the end of last year following the Q4 rout in equities, it’s safe to say that not a lot of investors were expecting double-digit gains in the first quarter. That’s exactly what we have seen in US equities, though, as the major averages are all up over 10% YTD heading into the final hours of the quarter. While the Dow has lagged many of its peer indices this year, it too is still on pace to finish Q1 with a gain of just over 10%.
In the table below, we show how each of the 30 components in the DJIA have performed on a YTD basis as well as how much they have contributed to the index’s total gains. Remember, the DJIA is a price-weighted index, so the sole determinant of a stock’s weight in the index is its price. Looking at the table, you’re likely not the only one doing a double-take at the two stocks that top the list of best performers in the index so far this year. That’s right, Cisco (CSCO) and IBM have been the index’s two top performers in 2019 with gains of nearly 24%. Behind these two stocks, United Technologies (UTX) and Apple (AAPL) are the only two other stocks that are up 20% or more. To the downside, just five stocks in the DJIA are in the red on a YTD basis. Leading the way lower, Walgreens Boots (WBA), the newest stock in the index, has declined over 7%, but none of the four other stocks are down more than 3%.
Because the DJIA is price-weighted, the best-performing stocks in the index haven’t been the biggest contributors to the YTD gains. The chart below shows how many points each stock in the index has contributed to the YTD gains. Looking at things this way, you may be surprised to see that Boeing (BA) still tops the list. With its 17% YTD gain and very high share price, BA has contributed 374 points to the DJIA’s upside this year, beating out the next closest component (AAPL) by 160 points! All else being equal, BA could fall another 23 points (6.0%) and it would still be the largest contributor to the DJIA’s YTD gains.