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Fuel for the Dow 18K roundtrip

A lot has changed since the Dow Jones industrial average last closed above the 18,000 mark. The last time it happened was on July 20, 2015. Between then and now, the stock market has seen the biggest pullback since 2011, extreme concerns over the bigger picture global economy and the first interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in close to a decade.

Amid that backdrop, the Dow has managed to rally more than 2,600 points from the lows in August through the close on Monday, April 18. A number of stocks have helped the Dow make its push back toward record high levels. Among them, shares of fast food giant McDonald's, which have rallied by 32 percent between the close of trading on July 20 of last year and Monday's close. Home improvement retailer Home Depot and computer software maker Microsoft have also rallied by 20 percent during that span.

Meanwhile, shares of Apple, American Express and Goldman Sachs have been among the biggest drags.

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As for where Wall Street's experts believe future leadership for the Dow will come from? Perhaps it's no surprise to many investors that analysts who cover Apple have the rosiest of outlooks for the shares. According to data compiled by FactSet, the average target price for the stock implies possibly 23 percent upside from the close of trading on Monday.

Athletic apparel giant Nike is forecast to have share price appreciation of 21 percent, and Goldman Sachs has a target price 18 percent above current levels. Caterpillar, the world's biggest maker of construction and mining equipment, is the only stock where analysts forecast an average double-digit percentage price decline from current levels. The full table of Dow components, with price changes and analyst upside targets is included below.

Ticker

Company

%Chg from 7/20/15 to 4/18/2016

% Upside to Avg Analyst Target Price

Market Cap

MCD

McDonald's Corporation

32%

0%

115,207

HD

Home Depot, Inc.

21%

4%

168,964

MSFT

Microsoft Corporation

20%

5%

440,153

GE

General Electric Company

14%

6%

288,118

TRV

Travelers Companies, Inc.

13%

-3%

34,021

V

Visa Inc. Class A

12%

6%

153,684

KO

Coca-Cola Company

12%

4%

199,555

JNJ

Johnson & Johnson

11%

1%

303,914

INTC

Intel Corporation

9%

13%

148,409

DD

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

9%

0%

56,895

MMM

3M Company

8%

-2%

102,248

VZ

Verizon Communications Inc.

8%

0%

209,508

CVX

Chevron Corporation

6%

0%

183,250

NKE

NIKE, Inc. Class B

5%

21%

79,222

XOM

Exxon Mobil Corporation

5%

-5%

352,646

UNH

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

4%

12%

121,049

PG

Procter & Gamble Company

1%

2%

222,586

CSCO

Cisco Systems, Inc.

1%

4%

140,396

CAT

Caterpillar Inc.

-4%

-17%

46,102

MRK

Merck & Co., Inc.

-4%

8%

155,492

WMT

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

-4%

-7%

217,148

UTX

United Technologies Corporation

-5%

3%

87,497

PFE

Pfizer Inc.

-7%

16%

201,236

BA

Boeing Company

-10%

6%

85,373

JPM

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

-10%

14%

226,557

IBM

International Business Machines

-12%

-7%

145,785

DIS

Walt Disney Company

-15%

9%

160,856

AAPL

Apple Inc.

-19%

23%

609,072

AXP

American Express Company

-21%

5%

59,552

GS

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

-25%

18%

66,382

Source: FactSet, CNBC

The investing world looks noticeably different today than it did the last time Dow 18K was in play. As difficult a time as the oil and gas industry had last summer, oil was hovering around $50 per barrel, versus the current mark around $40 for West Texas Intermediate crude futures.

Sticking with the macro, bigger picture theme, yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note were 2.37 percent on July 20, 2015. Yields stand significantly lower today at around 1.78 percent. As for the U.S. dollar, back then it was worth 124 yen. It's significantly weaker today, where it's worth closer to 109 yen.

The broader rally in the stock market has come despite very low expectations for corporate earnings and revenue, as well as continued concern about the effect of negative interest rates in many parts of the world.

Bears have had a slew of data points on their side, but they've taken a back seat to what has been a slow grind higher for equities. As equities sit within striking distance of record highs, traders and investors will be taking stock of whether there is enough fuel in the tank for a sustained leg higher in the current bull market.