The Dow's Top 5 Performers in March

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), American Express ( AXP), Cisco ( CSCO) and Coca-Cola ( KO) were the top five best performers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in March.

The Dow gained 1.79%, or 231.74 points, in March to 13,212.04.

Bank of America was the top gainer with a 17.86% increase in March to $9.57. According to the Federal Reserve's stress test results, Bank of America's estimated Tier 1 common equity ratio under the adverse economic scenario would be 5.7%, increasing to an estimated 5.9% at the end of 2013.

Bank of America has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 9.05 times; the average among its peers is 9.03. For comparison, JPMorgan has a lower forward P/E of 8.32 times and Wells Fargo's ( WFC) forward P/E is 9.42..

Twenty-five of the 39 analysts who cover Bank of America rated it hold. Ten analysts gave the stock a buy rating and four rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Bank of America a C- grade and hold rating.

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Shares of JPMorgan rose 13.9% to $45.98 in March. The bank passed the Fed's stress tests and increased its quarterly dividend to 30 cents a share from 25 cents.

JPMorgan's forward P/E is 8.32 times; the average for its peers is 9.03. For comparison, Citigroup has a lower forward P/E of 7.88.

Thirty-four of the 40 analysts who cover JPMorgan rated it buy; six analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives JPMorgan a B+ grade with a buy rating and $52.75 price target.


Shares of America Express rose 8.01% in March to $57.86. The credit card company raised its quarterly dividend 11% in March to 20 cents a share from 18 cents.

Shares of American Express hit a 52-week high of $59.26 on March 28. The stock's 52-week low of $41.30 was set on Oct. 4.

American Express' forward P/E is 12.18 times; the average for its peers is 12.02.

Sixteen of the 31 analysts who cover American Express rated it buy. Twelve analysts gave the stock a hold rating and three rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives American Express an A+ grade with a buy rating and $66.86 price target.

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Cisco shares rose 6.39% in March to $21.15. The networking company announced its intent to acquire software developer NDS in March for about $5 billion.

Shares of Cisco hit a 52-week high on March 29 of $21.24. The stock's 52-week low of $13.30 was set on Aug. 9.

Cisco's forward P/E is 10.58 times; the average for telecommunications equipment companies is 19.47. For comparison, Motorola Solutions ( MSI) and Juniper Networks ( JNPR) have higher forward P/Es of 14.6 and 18.29, respectively.

Twenty-seven of the 49 analysts who cover Cisco rated it buy. Twenty analysts gave the stock a hold rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Cisco a B grade with a buy rating and $24.29 price target.


Coca-Cola shares gained 6.34% to $74.01 in March. Both Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo ( PEP) are changing the coloring in their sodas so they won't need a cancer-warning label in California.

Shares of Coca-Cola hit a 52-week high on March 29 of $74.39. The stock's 52-week low of $63.34 was set on Oct. 4.

Coca-Cola's forward P/E is 16.52 times; the average for soft drink companies is 18.. For comparison, Pepsi's forward P/E is 14.96.

Nineteen of the 24 analysts who cover Coca-Cola rated it buy; five analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Coca-Cola an A grade with a buy rating and $85.25 price target.

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