Why These Were the Dow's 3 Biggest Losers Today

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) slipped 27 points today, or 0.21%. But some stocks fared worse than others. These were the three biggest losers:

Company

Price Change

Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) 2.4%
Intel (NAS: INTC) 1.7%
Kraft (NYS: KFT) 1.6%

Wal-Mart continues to slide after falling nearly 4% yesterday following its earnings announcement. Total sales were up 4.5% during the holiday quarter, but earnings fell 12% as the discount retailer had to slash prices to attract cash-strapped consumers. Investors will want to keep an eye on unemployment figures, which may be slowly declining but are still uncomfortably high for companies like Wal-Mart, whose customers tend to have lower incomes.

Intel shares fell after Dell (NAS: DELL) reported weak earnings. Sales rose slightly, but the PC giant's net income fell 18%. Although its large-enterprise business is still performing well, its public institution unit struggled. PC sales are obviously significant for Intel, the dominant player in the market for PC chips. Generally speaking, sales in emerging markets have remained strong, but analysts are worried about U.S. PC sales as consumer dollars have shifted to ARM Holdings-based devices like smartphones and tablets. There have been also been reports that Apple may be working on its own chips based on ARM technology that could potentially replace Intel's in its computers.

Kraft is down about the same amount that shares rose yesterday on its solid earnings announcement. Sales grew 6.6%, and earnings rose 54%, largely based on cost-savings. Kraft is planning to split up its snack and grocery brands into two separate companies later this year. As I've noted before, the good giant's above-average valuation is one factor that seems to be weighing on the stock.

Wal-Mart, Intel, and Kraft all lost to the market today, but it's important to remember that what happens in the market on a day-to-day or even week-to-week basis doesn't matter nearly as much as how our stocks perform over the long run. If you're interested in one stock that our chief investment officer picked to crush the market, check out our brand-new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. For a limited time, you can get instant access to the name of this company for free

At the time this article was published Ilan Moscovitzowns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart Stores.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart Stores and Intel, writing covered calls in Dell, and creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. 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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