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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has delivered solid performance so far this year, hitting its 35,091.56 all-time high on May 10, 2021. With the fast-paced reopening of industrial activities, and favorable fiscal and monetary policies, the widely watched benchmark index has gained 11.7% year-to-date. The index gained 12.7% in the first half of the year.

Along with the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq, the DJIA hovered near its all-time high yesterday, with the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting minutes signaling a split on the timing for rolling back crisis-era monetary policies. With a string of positive economic reports, DJIA is expected to continue gaining in the second half of 2021. 

Given this backdrop, we think it could be wise to watch the best performing Dow stocks in the first half of the year—American Express Company (AXP) and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS).

American Express Company (AXP)

AXP provides charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services worldwide. The New York City company operates through three segments–its Global Consumer Services Group, Global Commercial Services, and Global Merchant and Network Services.

The company launched a refreshed U.S. American Express Consumer Platinum Card on July 1. The card now offers even more value to card members, with additional and expanded travel and everyday benefits and services across dining, wellness, retail and entertainment.

AXP’s expenses decreased 7% year-over-year to $6.75 billion for the first quarter, ended March 31, 2021. Its pre-tax income grew 562.2% year-over-year to $2.99 billion, while its net income increased 509% year-over-year to $2.23 billion. Also, its EPS came in at $2.74, up 568.3% year-over-year.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2021, analysts expect AXP’s EPS and revenue to increase 434.5% and 16.1%, respectively, year-over-year to $1.55 and $9.47 billion. It surpassed consensus EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters. The stock has gained 41.4% so far this year to close yesterday’s trading session at $170.98.

It’s no surprise that AXP has an overall B rating, which equates to Buy in our POWR Ratings system. The POWR Ratings assess stocks by 118 different factors, each with its own weighting.

The stock has an A grade for Sentiment, and a B grade for Momentum. Click here to see AXP’s ratings for Growth, Value, Stability, and Quality as well. AXP is ranked #15 of 51 stocks in the B-rated Consumer Financial Services industry.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS)

GS is an established financial institution that provides a range of financial services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals across the world. It operates through four segments—Investment Banking, Global Markets, Asset Management, and Consumer & Wealth Management–and is based in New York City.

The company announced on April 13 that it intends to expand its footprint in the U.K. by opening a new office in Birmingham. Richard Gnodde, GS’ CEO said, “Establishing a new office in Birmingham will diversify our U.K, footprint and give us access to a broad and deep talent pool in the local area. We see tremendous opportunity to enhance our U.K. presence and continue delivering for our global clients.”

GS’ net revenue increased 102% year-over-year to $17.70 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended March 31, 2021. The company’s pre-tax earnings grew 518% year-over-year to $8.30 billion, while its EPS came in at $18.60, up 498% year-over-year.

Analysts expect GS’ EPS and revenue to increase 1,739.6% and 22.8%, respectively, year-over-year to $9.75 and $11.97 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. It surpassed the Street’s EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters. The stock has gained 39.4% year-to-date to close yesterday’s trading session at $367.67.

GS’ POWR Ratings reflect this promising outlook. The company has an overall B rating, which translates to Buy in our proprietary ratings system.

The stock has a B grade for Growth and Sentiment. Within the B-rated Investment Brokerage industry, GS is ranked #7 of 24 stocks. To see all the POWR Ratings for GS (Value, Stability, Momentum, and Quality), click here.

AXP shares were trading at $169.96 per share on Thursday afternoon, down $1.02 (-0.60%). Year-to-date, AXP has gained 41.85%, versus a 16.07% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Nimesh Jaiswal

Nimesh Jaiswal’s fervent interest in analyzing and interpreting financial data led him to a career as a financial analyst and journalist. The importance of financial statements in driving a stock’s price is the key approach that he follows while advising investors in his articles. More…

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