The 4 Best Dow Performers This Week

4) The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)

Coca-Cola has been a favorite pick among dividend hunters for a long time. The company behind the world’s most-popular soda and most-valuable brand favors its investors with a 2.60 percent dividend yield, and the stock is about as stable as they come with a beta of 0.36, meaning it is far less volatile than the market at large.

Coca-Cola is due to release its earnings on Tuesday before the markets open, and the company is expected to post another respectable quarter of growth. Analysts are looking for non-GAAP earnings of $0.44 per share on revenue of $11.54 billion.

Quarter Dec. 31, 2011 Mar. 31, 2012 Jun. 30, 2012 Sep. 30, 2012 Dec. 31, 2012*
Revenue ($) in millions 11,040 11,140 13,080 12,340 11.54
Diluted EPS ($) 0.355 0.445 0.605 0.50 0.44

*non-GAAP estimates

Signs of weakness in the overall soft-drink market in North America have had some analysts downwardly revising their estimates, this shift in consumption is not catching Coca-Cola off guard. Shares increased 3.14 percent for the week in anticipation of the earnings.

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Coca-Cola Company (The) Common Stock Chart - KO Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance

3) Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)

Shares of this beleaguered but loved PC maker climbed 3.44 percent for the week. The company won’t report its earnings until February 21 after the markets close, and the expectations are for decreased earnings and revenue. Analysts are looking for non-GAAP earnings of $0.71 per share, a 22.82 percent year-over-year decline, and revenue of $27.77 billion, a 7.5 percent year-over-year decline.

Quarter Jan. 31, 2012 Apr. 30, 2012 Jul. 31, 2012 Oct. 31, 2012 Jan. 31, 2013*
Revenue ($) in millions 30,040 30,690 29,670 29,960 27.77
Diluted EPS ($) 0.73 0.80 -4.49 -3.45 0.71

*non-GAAP estimates

On the radar for HP last week is the announcement that Larry Stack, a managing direction of Global Sales chief at Accenture (NYSE:ACN), will come on board as HP’s new senior VP of Global Sales and Enterprise Services. This is not a small deal, given that HP’s Enterprise Sales unit was recently smacked with an $8 billion impairment charge related to a botched acquisition.

HP also weighed in on Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) leveraged buyout plan, stating: “Dell has a very tough road ahead. The company faces an extended period of uncertainty and transition that will not be good for its customers. And with a significant debt load, Dell’s ability to invest in new products and services will be extremely limited. Leveraged buyouts tend to leave existing customers and innovation at the curb. We believe Dell’s customers will now be eager to explore alternatives, and HP plans to take full advantage of that opportunity.”

Hewlett-Packard Company Common Stock Chart - HPQ Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance

2) American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)

American Express powered to weekly gains of 3.65 percent, simultaneously striking chords of optimism and concern. Shares of the credit company are up over 18 percent year over year, a laggard in a broad and tremendous credit-card company rally for the period, but a participant nonetheless.

Bears are concerned that the long run will soon lose its steam and with it, the market may find itself falling out of love with the stock. Quarterly revenue growth for the company is below its major competitors and insiders have been exiting their positions left and right recently. Here’s just a few:

Relationship Date Transaction Number of Shares Value ($)
Chief Human Resources Officer Feb. 04, 2013 Sale 16,325 969,145
EVP-Corp. Affairs Feb. 04, 2013 Sale 69,958 4,145,566
Group Pres., Global Services Feb. 04, 2013 Sale 50,031 3,512,156
EVP. Human Resources Jan. 30, 2012 Sale 44,451 2,645,392
Group. Pres., Global Services Jan. 30, 2012 Sale 28,977 1,716,308

American Express Company Common Stock Chart - AXP Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance

1) UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH)

UnitedHealth edged out American Express with 3.69 percent gains for the week. The health-services company has been riding high ever since it posted strong results on January 17, which revealed a fifth consecutive year of top- and bottom-line growth.

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 81,190 87,140 94,160 101,860 110,620
Diluted EPS($) 2.40 3.24 4.10 4.73 5.28

It’s hard to ask for more than strong and consistent growth from one of the biggest health-care companies on the block.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Stock Chart - UNH Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance