In Perspective: The Dow's Worst Loss of 2012

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If you've been following the market, you know that the Dow suffered its worst daily loss of 2012 on Friday. This resulted in the first down week for 2012.

But let's put the stock market numbers in perspective.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) dropped 0.7% for Friday and 0.5% for the week. Looking at the broader indexes, theNasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) dropped 0.8% for the day and 0.1% for the week, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) dropped 0.7% for the day and 0.2% for the week.

If you're saying to yourself, "Boy, these drops aren't really all that big," you're on the same page I am. More than a month into the year, if a 0.7% loss for the Dow is the worst daily performance, I'll take it. For the year, the Dow's up 4.8%.

Why the Dow dropped
If you're curious why the Dow fell so much, the common reason given is "Greek fears."Earlier in the week, the Greeks and the European leaders seemed to reach an agreement on terms. But late Thursday, the eurozone finance ministers demanded that the Greek Parliament approve austerity measures (including more than 3 billion euros of spending cuts, job cuts, and a 22% minimum-wage reduction) before they will approve a 130-billion-euro bailout. Greek unions went on a 48-hour strike, with some skirmishes on the periphery of the protests.

That said, Europe has been an ongoing soap opera that won't be over anytime soon. As with everything, try to block out the daily noise and focus on the longer term.

The big winner and big loser
When we look at individual Dow stocks, Disney (NYS: DIS) was the big weekly winner, up 3.6% as it beat analyst estimates for its most recent quarter. Fool analyst Anders Bylund provides more coverage.

The big loser was Alcoa (NYS: AA) , down 4.4%. Alcoa tends to move in exaggerated fashion with investor sentiment regarding the aluminum industry, which is greatly tied to the fate of the global economy. Right now, the industry is dealing with excess supply. For a five-year outlook on Alcoa, see this video.

There you have the Dow week that was. As you put the weekly news in perspective and hunt for long-term buys, consider reading a free report I wrote called "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying." Get immediate access.

At the time this article was published Anand Chokkaveluowns shares of Walt Disney.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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