The two stocks that could help the Dow reach 20,000

The Dow Jones industrial average narrowly reached an all-time high on Monday morning. But the bigger event could come later this year, when the Dow has a shot at reaching the milestone of 20,000.

That round number is just 9.5 percent from Monday’s opening print. And while that may sound achievable, the options market assigns just a 11 percent chance of the Dow rising to that level by year end, judging roughly by options on the Dow “Diamonds” (DIA) ETF (specifically, one can examine the delta of the December quarterly 200-strike Dow Diamonds calls, which is 0.11).

So, which stock could surprise options traders and bring us to that fresh milestone?

The Dow is a price-weighted index, meaning that the effect that a stock has on the Dow’s overall level is proportional to its size. Currently, the biggest stock in the Dow is Goldman Sachs, followed by IBM and 3M.

The problem is, analysts don’t expect much from Goldman. Those experts on the stock have a mean price target of $205.83 per FactSet, which is just a touch above Monday’s level. And when it comes to IBM, the mean analyst target is actually below the current share price.

But going further down the Dow food chain, as it were, the fourth- and fifth-largest Dow components both stand out: Boeing and Apple.

The average analyst expects Boeing shares to rise 10 percent, based on the mean target price compiled by FactSet. And while Apple is already up 17 percent this year, on average, analysts expect the $129 stock to rise to $146.49.

If Boeing and Apple merely crawl up to their price targets, then, about 215 points will be added to the Dow, based on the Dow divisor published by The Wall Street Journal (Tweet this).

That won’t quite get the Dow to 20,000, but it could at least serve as a first step.

Of course, it may be the case that better odds for a 9 percent gain can be found in the S&P 500, which is not so highly levered to potentially fully valued stocks such as Goldman and IBM.

“A 9 percent advance is more probable for the S&P 500 than the Dow,” Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, wrote to CNBC.

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