The Dow Jones Industrial Average  (^INDU)  began 2022 at its most robust ever. The blue chip index reached its all-time closing high at 36,799.65 points on Jan. 4, 2022. But from there, things got shaky.

Volatility rocked stock values all year long, as investors were spooked by fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and interest rate hikes. By December 20, the Dow’s stood at 32,849.74.

But these four companies, all listed in the Dow, managed to escape the headwinds and found themselves at the top of the year’s blue chip performers. We examine which ones they are and how they ended up bucking the downward trend.

Chevron Corporation

Chevron Corporation  (CVX) – Get Free Report, the second largest oil company in the United States behind fellow Standard Oil descendant ExxonMobil  (XOM) – Get Free Report, led the Dow companies in stock price increase for the year.

During the first half of 2022, shares of Chevron surged about 23%. The company and its shareholders benefited from rising oil prices resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Little excess capacity in oil production caused demand to remain high.

The increase in prices sparked a climb in Chevron’s revenues. The company also benefited by not having as much exposure to Russian oil as some of its competitors.

And the stock remained strong in the fourth quarter. As of Dec. 20 Chevron shares were trading at $172.67, up about 45% for the calendar year.

Merck & Co.

Merck & Co. (MRK) – Get Free Report, the U.S.-based multinational pharmaceutical company, had a very strong 2022, with an increase in stock price for the calendar year well above 40%.

Keytruda, a popular drug used to fight certain kinds of cancers, continues to achieve important results in patient survival. For example, Fierce Pharma reported on Sept. 4 that about 19.4% of patients with a type of lung cancer were alive after five years of Keytruda and chemotherapy.

“Bear in mind that typically we’re thinking of five-year survival in this population of patients is on the order of around 5% from the era of just chemotherapy treatment,” Greg Lubiniecki, M.D., vice president of clinical research at Merck Research Laboratories, told the website.

By late December, the company’s shares were trading at about $110, up from $76.87 on Jan. 3.

Travelers Companies, Inc.

American insurance company The Travelers Companies, Inc.,  (TRV) – Get Free Report has been a component of the Dow Jones Industrial average since 2009.

In 2022, the company’s stock price is up about 20% for the calendar year from its value on Jan. 3 of $155.75. As of Dec. 20, its shares are valued at $185.79.

The gains have come in spite of a major hurricane striking Florida during the third quarter.

“We are pleased to report solid third quarter 2022 results, particularly in light of significant industry-wide losses from Hurricane Ian,” said Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in a press release at the time.

“Our strategic approach to underwriting for catastrophes has once again served us well,” he continued. “Our focus is now on taking care of our customers and meeting our industry-leading objective of resolving 90% of our property claims arising out of catastrophes, including this historic storm, within 30 days.”

Amgen, Inc.

American biopharmaceutical company Amgen, Inc.  (AMGN) – Get Free Report saw its shares rise from $226.69 at the beginning of the year to around $265 by the end of 2022, for an increase of about 17%.

In August, Amgen agreed to acquire ChemoCentryx for $3.7 billion. In December the company announced its intention to acquire Horizon Therapeutics for $27.8 billion. Both acquisitions grew its stake in medications for rare diseases.

In September, a study determined that its cancer drug Lumakras was more effective than chemotherapy.

Other popular medications produced by Amgen are Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, Prolia and Xgeva for bone cancer and Otezla for psoriasis.

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