BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The S&P 500, the broadest benchmark for U.S. stocks, has fallen more than 10% since reaching a 19-month high in April on concern about slower-than-expected economic growth in the U.S. and China, and Europe's spreading debt crisis.
And Dow members
(CAT - Get Report)
(GE - Get Report)
tumbled more than 4% in intraday trading Friday.
While some risk-averse investors may be skipping out on equities for fear the stock-market correction will turn into a bear market, there are defensive Dow stocks that can cushion the blow and outperform their peers on the benchmark index of the 30 largest U.S. companies.
Stocks with limited risks and a strong dividend will hold their value better than most in a downturn. While they won't pop in a turnaround as much as riskier shares will, the following five Dow companies are the cream of the crop in any conditions.
An analysis of the select Dow companies begins on the next page, along with charts that highlight their relative strengths.