(A longer version of this article originally appeared Jan. 9 at 6:37 a.m. ET on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Jim Cramer and other writers even earlier in the trading day.)
I wrote in an earlier column about four of 12 Dow Jones Industrial Average components that could push the index over 20,000 because they're well below their historic highs. Let's check out four more: Caterpillar (CAT) Exxon Mobil (XOM) Chevron (CVX) and Coca-Cola (KO) .
CAT has already told us that it's not doing all that well, which is certainly a negative. But it's worth recalling that the stock was trading at $93 -- roughly where it currently is -- when management pre-announced that earnings would not be that good.
Now, CAT's a strange animal. It is, at once, the company most easily sacrificed if President-Elect Donald Trump truly wants to start playing as tough with the Chinese as they play with us. But Caterpillar would also be a huge beneficiary of any sort of gigantic (and much needed) U.S. infrastructure program. More importantly, if the world is starting to do better as it seems, then it might not be a stretch for CAT to trade back to $116, where it was in 2012 (although that was at the height of the worldwide commodities boom).
I think Caterpillar's downside is well known, but its upside isn't visible yet. The stock can creep toward its old record levels on some positive commodities data and a big cost takeout that we will find more about when CAT reports results on Jan. 26.
Anything super-positive about China could also work, but Caterpillar is in the crosshairs of both the Chinese Communist government and the strong U.S. dollar, which can work in arch-rival Komatsu's favor.
That said, technical analyst Bruce Kamich of Real Money, our premium site for active traders, sees cause for concern in CAT's daily chart:
Kamich noted in his latest analysis that Caterpillar's On-Balance-Volume line (OBV) "failed to make new highs in November and December when prices made new highs. This bearish divergence could translate into soft prices in the next couple of weeks."
Exxon-Mobil and Chevron
XOM and CVX need to rise by about 17% to get back to their historic highs -- and frankly, that's just asking too much from both stocks.
They've both had remarkable comebacks as it is from their lows at this time last year, and both companies have shown an ability to cut back rather quickly given how huge they are. They've also demonstrated the ability to pay their dividends without any issues -- and they have big dividends.
Still, you can't look to either of these two stocks to get us to Dow 20,000. If anything, the longer oil stays at current levels, the less likely these names can stay where they are without risk of pullbacks.
Kamich doesn't like XOM's daily chart:
As he noted in a recent analysis of the stock, the chart above shows Exxon's price falling amid rising volume and an On-Balance-Volume line that's turned lower, "signaling more aggressive selling." Click here to read Kamich's full take.
Can Coca-Cola mount a run higher? The stock's 3.3% current dividend yield isn't all that appealing when you consider that the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond currently gives you about 2.5%.
There's also a new CEO coming in, and I think that the restructuring that outgoing Chief Executive Muhtar Kent has designed will make sure KO has no problems meeting its numbers.
Bruce Kamich noted in his latest technical analysis of the name that Coca-Cola's daily chart shows that the stock "has been trying to stabilize the past two months":
But the simple truth is that this stock just can't be relied to pick up 14% to get back to its historic high unless this market loses its animal spirits -- something that while possible, would make Dow 20,000 a moot point.