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Dow Trounces S&P Again as IBM Jumps, Google Slides

The Dow outdid the S&P 500 again Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than three quarters a percent on the day, even as the S&P 500 posted a negligible gain. That echoes last year, when the price-weighted average of 30 stocks gained more than 5%, while the S&P, which weights its 500 constituents by stock market value, was flat, not including dividends.

Last year, the Dow’s outperformance was owed to its relatively low exposure to bank shares, which plunged, and its lucky exposure to a few stars, like IBM (IBM), Chevron (CVX) and McDonald’s (MCD).  Also, the Dow’s dividend yield is around one and a half times that of the S&P 500 index, and last year dividend-paying stocks broadly shined.

On Friday, the difference came down to technology shares.  A day earlier, old tech had a much better showing than young tech on a big day for earnings reports.  Microsoft, IBM and Intel each topped Wall Street’s views.  All are Dow members, and IBM has more than a 10% weighting, thanks to, odd as it seems, its high stock price.

Not numbered among Dow members is Google (GOOG), which missed Wall Street’s earnings forecast Thursday and suffered a 8% stock decline.  Going into Friday, it was No. 7 among U.S. companies in terms of stock market value, and thus held plenty of sway over the S&P 500.

Investors shouldn’t read too much into Friday’s victory for the Dow, stemming as it did from luck of the earnings draw. Which index does better for all of 2012 will most likely depend on the same factors as in 2011.  If investors remain wary on high finance and keen on Dividends, expect the Dow to come out ahead again.

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